Hamad International Airport (HIA), the sole international airport in Qatar, has reported a 4.7% year-on-year increase in cargo operations in the first quarter of this year.

In the first three months, the airport handled around 529,436t of cargo.

Overall, Hamad International Airport handled 176,279t in January, while in the months of February and March freight movements amounted to 173,248t and 179,909t respectively.

The increase was primarily attributed to the jump in demand for essential goods and medical supplies as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The freight division of Qatar Airways, the flag carrier of the country, is currently operating around 175 freighter and belly-hold passenger flights per day.

Freight charters are operational to several countries such as China, India, the UK, the US, and Australia, among others.

Last month, Qatar Airways Cargo transported more than 100,000t of medical and aid supplies to regions affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, while it operated a total of 147 dedicated cargo flights in a day last week to ship relief aid.

Furthermore, HIA and Qatar Airways Group are working together to bring back Qatari citizens stranded in other parts of the world.

All Qatari nationals, after they reach the capital of Doha, are being quarantined for 14 days as per the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines.

In addition, HIA has installed epidemiological surveillance cameras across the terminal and established a Ministry of Public Health-operated medical clinic at the airport on a 24/7 basis.

Last month, Qatar Airways announced to temporarily reduce 40% of its staff at the HIA due to the impact of Covid-19.