To meet the substantial shift toward consumers shopping online, Qantas will convert two of its Airbus A330 passenger planes into freighters.
One of the renovated widebody freighters will be utilized on Qantas Freight’s worldwide network, while the other will join Australia Post’s domestic package and mail fleet as a new addition.
Additionally, this week, Qantas Freight will get its third Airbus A321P2F cargo, which will also serve Australia Post. Jetstar had previously used narrow-body aircraft for passenger services.
The freighter will expand capacity ahead of what is likely to be the busiest Christmas period in air cargo history.
The two A330s’ seat capacity will be replaced by more effective Qantas passenger network scheduling.
In addition, three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will be delivered to Qantas in 2022.
The modification of the two widebody A330 aircraft, according to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, will greatly improve capacity for both domestic and international freight.
“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,” Joyce said.
“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 to people’s homes as quickly as possible.
The retrofitted A330 aircraft for Australia Post will be able to transport roughly 50 tonnes of cargo every flight, more than double the capacity of existing national mail freighters.”
EFW, a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering, will transform the plane. Removal of seats, replacement of the original cabin door with a wider door, and installation of a cargo handling system are all part of the conversion process.
The first A330 aircraft, which will be used by Australia Post, will begin conversion in August 2022 and will begin flying in mid-2023, with the second following in late 2023.
The new aircraft, according to Paul Graham, Australia Post’s Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Director, will provide a significant boost to the company’s existing dedicated air freighter network, which is operated by Qantas, and will allow Australia Post to continue powering eCommerce, supporting Australian businesses, and delivering for its customers both domestically and internationally.