Qantas Will Convert Two Airbus A330-200 Passenger Aircraft into Freighters to Meet E-Commerce Demand
In response to a permanent increase in e-commerce demand, Qantas will convert two Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft into freighters. One of the aircraft will be used in Qantas Freight’s international operation, while the other will join the fleet that serves Australia Post.
On Tuesday (December 7, 2021), Qantas announced that they will convert two of their Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into freighters to meet the permanent increase in e-commerce demand. One aircraft will join Qantas Freight’s international network and the second will be added to the dedicated fleet that serves Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business. Additionally, Qantas Freight will receive their third Airbus A321P2F (Passenger-to-Freight) this week, which will also join the Australia Post fleet. The aircraft previously operated passenger services for Jetstar. The seating capacity of the two A330s will be replaced by more efficient scheduling, as well as three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners which will be delivered in 2022.
In Tuesday’s announcement, Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce, said,
“Our freight business has boomed during the pandemic and while some of that is temporary, COVID has accelerated the permanent expansion of e-Commerce 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 amount of parcels that we can carry by air to ensure they arrive to people’s homes as quickly as possible. The converted A330 aircraft for Australia Post will be able to carry around 50 tonnes of cargo each flight, more than double the capacity of other freighters operating for the national postal service.”
Also commenting on Qantas’ added cargo capacity, Australia Post’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Paul Graham, said,
“Australia Post plays a critical role in connecting Australian businesses and communities to each other and the rest of the world, and this has never been more evident than through the global pandemic where e-Commerce has grown by more than 76 per cent when compared to just two years ago.
“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.
“We are thrilled to have these new aircraft in our network as we prepare to deliver the biggest Christmas in Australia Post history. Last December we delivered a record 52 million parcels and uplifted over 7.4 million kilos of air freight, and we fully expect to eclipse these volumes this year.”
The A330s will be converted by EFW, a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering, and will include removing seats, replacing the existing cabin door with a larger cargo door, as well as the installation of a cargo handling system. The aircraft that will be used by Australia Post will start the conversion process in August 2022 and is expected to start operating in mid-2023, while the second aircraft is expected to enter service in late 2023. The converted Airbus A330-200s will each have the capacity to carry 50 tonnes of freight, while the A321P2F can carry around 20 tonnes of freight. After the conversions, the Qantas Group will have a fleet of up to 25 dedicated freighters.