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The Hungarian state’s cargo plane is set to enter into commercial service between Budapest and Doha following “intensive negotiations” with Qatar Airways, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Saturday. The Airbus A330-200F plane, acquired after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic to help ship health-care supplies, recently began commercial operation between Budapest and Chengdu in China, Szijjártó noted in a post on Facebook. The addition of the new route means that “the cargo plane owned by the state of Hungary, operated by a Hungarian carrier, maintained by a Hungarian company and supported by Hungarian ground service will now be in commercial service in the Middle East alongside its flights to Asia,” he said.
Szijjártó noted that just over two years ago it became clear to the world that “those who buy time can save lives”. “When the pandemic first hit, not only was there a severe shortage of masks, ventilators and other protective equipment, but once these were procured there was a question of how and when they could be delivered here,” the minister said. “We made a clear strategic decision to build our own readily deployable air transport capacities so that Hungary and its supplies would not be affected by the global supply chain challenges,” Szijjártó said. This was why Hungary procured the Airbus A330-200F cargo plane which has been used to ship some 6.8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to the country, he added.