Qantas to expand cargo capacity by converting two widebody aircraft into freighters
This week Qantas Freight will also receive its third Airbus A321P2F freighter, which will also operate for Australia Post.
Qantas Airways, the flag carrier of Australia today announced its decision to convert two Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into freighters to support the online consumer demand. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the conversion of the two widebody A330 aircraft would significantly increase capacity for both domestic and international freight.
One of the converted widebody freighters will be used in Qantas Freight’s international network, while the other will be a new addition to the dedicated fleet that serves Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business.
The first A330 aircraft, which will be utilised by Australia Post, will start its conversion in August 2022 and is expected to start its operations in mid-2023, with the second one slated to start operating in late 2023.
This week Qantas Freight will also receive its third Airbus A321P2F freighter, which will also operate for Australia Post. The narrow body aircraft previously operated passenger services for Jetstar. The freighter will provide additional capacity ahead of the Christmas period.
In 2022, Qantas will also take the delivery of three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
“Our freight business has boomed during the pandemic and while some of that is temporary, Covid has accelerated the permanent expansion of ecommerce and online shopping in this country. That’s why we’re working with key partners like Australia Post to respond to this structural change and increase the number of parcels that we can carry by air to ensure they arrive at people's homes as quickly as possible,” Joyce said.
“The converted A330 aircraft for Australia Post will be able to carry around 50 tonnes of cargo each flight, that is more than double the capacity of other freighters operating for the national postal service,” Joyce added.
The aircraft will be converted by EFW (Elbe Flugzeugwerke), which is a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering. Conversion work will include removing seats, replacing the existing cabin door with a larger door and the installation of a cargo handling system.
Paul Graham, chief executive officer and managing director, Australia Post said “The new aircraft will provide an important boost to Australia Post’s existing dedicated air freighter network operated by Qantas, and will enable Australia Post to continue powering ecommerce, supporting Australian businesses and delivering for its customers both domestically and internationally.”
Australia Post plays a critical role in connecting Australian businesses, communities to each other and the rest of the world, and in the past two years, ecommerce has grown by more than 76 per cent.
“The two A321PTF aircraft already in the skies, and the third taking off this month, provide our network with critical additional capacity and flexibility, while also improving the sustainability of our air freight operations, as they can carry twice as many parcels and require less fuel per kilo of mail and parcels uplifted,” Graham added.