From zero to 211 flights in just 12 months: Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s leading cargo airline, and ECS Group, the world’s largest integrated GSSA, celebrate their first year of air cargo services out of Lyon (LYS), France. Initially planned as a new Qatar Airways passenger service destination for the summer of 2020, prior to the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyon was instead subsequently set up from scratch and in record time as a highly successful cargo gateway.
Four times a week, a flexible mix of passenger-to-cargo conversions (B777-300, A350-900, B787-9, and A330) and full-freighters links Lyon, France, eastbound via Doha to more than 50 destinations across Asia, Far East and Oceania. Westbound, Qatar Airways Cargo offers numerous routes out of Lyon via its regional hubs in Liège (LGG) and Luxembourg (LUX) to North and South America.
“Qatar Airways Cargo is proud to be celebrating its first anniversary of serving Lyon, also on behalf of our passenger division who would have been carrying this flag under normal circumstances. Qatar Airways Cargo has consistently demonstrated its flexibility and dedication by providing Lyon customers with a stable, regular service as well as tailored solutions when required, despite the many challenges and restrictions resulting from the pandemic,” Kirsten de Bruijn, Senior Vice President Cargo Sales and Network Planning at Qatar Airways Cargo, said. “Against a backdrop of sky-rocketing operational and fuel costs, Qatar Airways Cargo’s commitment to unparalleled customer-centricity, and its mission to remain the number one international cargo airline, has required agility, adaptability, and determination. These core qualities are shared by our long-standing GSA partner, ECS, which has greatly contributed to successfully establishing and growing the Qatar Airways Cargo brand, services, and network within and beyond Lyon.”
The product mix out of Lyon and its extended catchment area encompassing Marseille (MRS) and Nice (NCE), includes COVID-19-related pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, local high-tech products, and general cargo: commodities that have often required fast, last-minute air lift solutions due to pandemic-related supply chain delays.
“Despite the competition increasingly returning to Lyon, our loyal customers enabled us to celebrate our first anniversary milestone by doing what no other airline has achieved so far: namely operate both a full-freighter and passenger-freighter together that same day, and generate positive bottom line results as well as full customer satisfaction,” Mathias Lepeut, Senior Regional Manager Cargo South Europe at Qatar Airways Cargo, commented. “I am extremely proud of our excellent Sales Team in France, and the committed, professional support of the ECS Group as our exclusive local GSA, for making this happen.”
“The pandemic has taught us that we need to be pragmatic, reactive, adaptable, and, of course, creative at all times. Having a Plan B is crucial to business growth, and is part of the DNA of both Qatar Airways Cargo and our dedicated GSA partner, ECS Group. Our success in Lyon, which we will continue to build on, showcases our joint business acumen and resilience in a logistics world that brings daily challenges. We thank our colleagues, our partner, and our customers for this past year in Lyon, and look forward to many more,” Kirsten de Bruijn concluded.