Hamad International Airport has officially commenced operations with the launch of its first cargo flight this week.

The Qatar Airways shipment, for Qatar Petroleum, was received at HIA around 10pm Sunday, Dec. 1, from Europe, the national carrier said in a statement.

It continued:

“Today marks a historic moment not just for Hamad International Airport but also for Qatar Airways Cargo. The cargo terminal complex at HIA will play a significant role in expanding our global cargo business and propels Doha as the preferred cargo hub in the region, as a result of its sophisticated cargo infrastructure and capacity.”

The imminent commencement of cargo operations at HIA was announced last week by Qatar’s Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed Al Sulaiti. However, he gave no specific details at the time about which airline would first use the facility, and on what date.

According to Qatar Airways, the new terminal is among the world’s largest, and is working to build capacity in order to move 5,700 shipments simultaneously by 2015.

During a tour of the new airport in October, the airport’s cargo manager told journalists that the old airport’s cargo facility would continue to operate for some time, until a complete transfer to the new airport’s cargo center takes place at a later date.

Meanwhile, the country is apparently gearing up for a soft launch of the airport to passengers next month, after missing several planned opening dates.

source: dohanews