Qatar Cargo has said that its 24-mile cargo flights between Maastricht and Liege are for a limited period only.
Over the weekend the flights, which last for around 10 minutes, hit the headlines in several countries as local politicians and environmental groups expressed their disappointment about the B777F short distance of the route.
Until November, the flights has been operating Doha-Liege-Mexico City, but on November 3, the stop in Maastricht was added.
The service still needed to travel to Liege before heading to Mexico because of the limitations of the Dutch airport’s runway, the carrier explained.
A Qatar Cargo spokesperson said the additional call was temporary and added: “Cargo is a crucial element in a global transport system that relies on international trade and Qatar Airways plays a small part in supporting the free flow of goods around the world while operating one of the youngest and most environmentally efficient fleets in the industry.
“Repositioning flights such as that between Maastricht and Liege are an uncommon but sometime necessary occurrence in our business. They enable airlines to ensure aircraft are fully loaded, which in turn guarantees optimum and effective use of fuel.
“In this particular instance, the repositioning was to a nearby airport which has a runway of sufficient length for the fully loaded aircraft.”