Qantas will add six Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) aircraft to their fleet between early 2024 and 2026. The aircraft will be sourced from the open market before conversion and will replace the carrier’s existing fleet of Boeing 737 Freighters.
On Monday (August 15, 2022) Qantas announced that they will acquire six Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter aircraft (P2F) to meet burgeoning online shopping demand. The carrier will source the A321s on the open market and they will then be converted by removing the passenger seats and adding a cargo handling system. Qantas expects the aircraft to enter service between early 2024 and 2026 and the aircraft will replace the airline’s existing fleet of five Boeing 737 Freighters which are nearing the end of their economic lifecycle. The A321P2F has a capacity of 23 tons, nine more than the 737F, and are also around 30 percent more fuel efficient per ton of freight carried. Currently, Qantas has three Airbus A321P2Fs in their cargo fleet.
In Monday’s announcement, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,
“Qantas Freight plays a vital role in Australia’s supply chain and this investment will grow our operations so they can support increased demand for next-day delivery. Qantas Freight has been one of the standout performers for the Group during the pandemic as Australians rapidly shifted to online shopping. While some of that shift is temporary, demand remains well-above pre-pandemic levels even with the lifting of almost all COVID-related restrictions. This is one of the largest ever investments in our domestic freight fleet, that will enable Qantas Freight to capture more of that demand and will provide the opportunity to help Freight further grow revenue and earnings. The first three A321P2F have been a fantastic addition to our fleet and operating a single-type of narrow body aircraft in the future will enable us to generate further operational efficiencies and significantly reduce emissions per tonne of freight flown.”
Additionally, Qantas is currently converting two Airbus A330s to freighters, with one to enter service on the carrier’s domestic network and the other internationally. The carrier will also continue to supplement their freighter fleet with wet-leased aircraft. Qantas retired one Boeing 737-300F in July 2022 after 36 years of service. Qantas Freight also operates a Boeing 767 Freighter and wet-leases two Boeing 747Fs from Atlas Air Worldwide, which connect Australia to key international freight hubs.