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STANSTED: IAG Cargo has replaced its Atlas Air-contracted B747-8 capacity between Hong Kong and Stansted with a Qatar Airways B777 freighter that has begun operating five days a week via Doha.Qatar 777F AMS

Qatar Airways and IAG subsidiary British Airways are both members of the oneworld passenger alliance. A Qatar Airways spokesperson said the new IAG Cargo service "will deliver approximately 80 tons of capacity to Hong Kong businesses".

According to Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG), this is the first cargo flight to be launched following the UK Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) decision in March to remove the UK airport from economic price regulation. Currently, the airport handles 13 percent of UK airfreight traffic.

Graeme Ferguson, MAG cargo director, commented: "We believe there is a significant opportunity to grow the cargo business at Stansted by adopting a different commercial approach, and we are committing considerable time and effort engaging with cargo operators."

Qatar Airways has also begun a weekly A330 freighter operation linking Doha with Delhi to exploit India's expanding pharma exports. Last December the airline opened a 55,000 square metre terminal with a capacity of 1.4 million tonnes at Doha's Hamad airport that now supports Stansted and 40 other freighter destinations worldwide.

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