Qatar Airways' Acting Chief Cargo Officer, Guillaume Halleux, says the Gulf-based carrier is planning to whittle down its A330-200F fleet given changing market dynamics.

In an interview with CargoFacts, Halleux said Qatar Airways would not renew leases on three A330 freighters when they expire in 2019. On their departure from the fleet, they will be replaced with larger B777-Fs of which are expected later this year.

According to Halleux, the A330s are ideal for testing a new route or market response to increased frequencies. But once it becomes apparent that the full capacity of a B777F can be used, the operating costs justify the switch to the larger aircraft. As such, Qatar Airways does not have enough new or untested routes to justify retaining the Airbus freighters.

Similarly, Halleux downplayed the prospect of additional B747-8(F)s being acquired stating that the type was suited to particular niche markets such as Seoul Incheon and Hong Kong Int'l where it can find takers for the aircraft's 140 tonne-capacity.

Qatar Airways Cargo currently operates eight A330-200(F)s, two B747-8(F)s, and thirteen B777-Fs. It currently has three more B777(F)s on order from Boeing and has also signed a Letter of Intent for five more.