The Hungarian Government has acquired an A330 freighter from Qatar Airways Cargo. The intention is for budget carrier Wizz Air to operate it on behalf of the Foreign Ministry. Such an arrangement would mean the continuation of a long-haul cargo-cooperation that saw its beginnings during the height of the pandemic.
The cargo division of Qatar Airways is currently phasing out its Airbus A330-200Fs in favor of Boeing 777Fs. Thus far, one of the A330 freighter jets has found new employment with the Hungarian Government. The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has acquired the nearly six-years-old plane as a means to secure the country’s cargo capacity, the need for which was highlighted by the ongoing pandemic.
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Civilian carrier for easier access
The Government wants to delegate the task of operating the A330 to Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air. According to Aerotime Hub, and first reported in Hungarian by AIRportal, the Ministry believes that a civilian carrier could more easily secure landing permits in other countries than if they would register the freighter as a military aircraft. When the plane is not on assignment for the Government, it will be used to ferry cargo commercially.
General reports seem fairly certain that an arrangement has been reached. So does Planespotters.net, which places the aircraft with Wizz at the latest update just yesterday, September 6th. Meanwhile, we shall have to wait for official confirmation as a spokesperson for Wizz’s Hungarian office told Simple Flying that,
“Wizz Air and the Hungarian government are in discussions with regard to the operation of the aircraft and if and when an arrangement is finalized we will make an announcement.”
Aircraft still in Doha
The aircraft in question has been registered with Qatar as A7-AFF. It was withdrawn from service on July 16th. However, it has since retaken to the skies. On August 31st, it took off for a spin over the Persian Gulf on what can only have been a functional check flight. The aircraft departed from Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 14:58 local time and landed back again just one minute short of two hours later.
As it was only six weeks after the plane was taken out of service, the flight could potentially have been in preparation for the transaction. Meanwhile, there is yet to be an announcement for when it will transfer to its new home-base in Central Europe.
Just last week, a different Airbus aircraft made the journey to the Gulf region for Wizz, as the low-cost carrier’s new Abu Dhabi subsidiary received its first A321neo.
If the arrangement goes through, it would not be the first time Wizz will fly supplies for the Hungarian Government. In late March, the Central European LCC ventured far away from its usual routes, flying long-haul to Shanghai to collect 11 tons of medical equipment. At the time, Wizz CEO József Váradi said it was an “honor and a privilege” that his company had been chosen for the mission.