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Qantas Boosts Cargo Capacity Amid Holiday Season

A Qantas Airbus A330 arrives in Sydney (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hisham Qadri)

The growth rate of online commerce has increased much faster than anyone would have predicted just a few years ago. E-commerce has grown over 76 percent in the last two years alone.

Christmas is fast approaching comes the season of gifting, which draws up a massive surge in online commerce as consumers worldwide scramble to ensure their gifts get delivered to their intended recipients in time. In response to the surge for online shopping,  Qantas — Australia’s flag carrier — has chosen to convert passenger aircraft into freighters to ensure their operations can meet the additional demand for parcels and mail.

Additional Capacity

The oneworld carrier has taken the initiative in permanently converting two of its Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft into freighters to provide additional support for the significant shift towards consumers using online commerce.

One of the Airbus A330P2Fs will be used to support Qantas Freight’s international network, whereas the other will be a brand-new addition to the dedicated fleet that will solely serve Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business.

In addition, Qantas Freight will also be expecting its third Airbus A321P2F freighter by the end of this week, and it is planned to be operating for the Australia Post as well.

Having previously operated passenger flight services for Jetstar, and will be providing significant added capacity for what’s likely to be the busiest Christmas period ever for air cargo.

“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,” Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, said, regarding the air cargo in Australia.

“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,” Joyce added, in response to a massive increase in demand.

Air Cargo Sustainability

It would come as no surprise that the new additions were decided upon as part of the consistent efforts of the Australia Post to increase efficiency through air freight. The Australia Post also plans to exercise carbon emission reductions wherever possible — hence the use of the A330P2F and the A321P2F to operate large volume sectors within the network.

According to the CEO and Managing Director of the Australia Post, Paul Graham, the A330P2F was the right choice as it will eventually provide an important boost to Australia Post’s existing dedicated air freighter network operated by Qantas, and will enable the Australia Post to continue powering eCommerce, supporting Australian businesses and delivering for its customers both domestically and internationally.

The A330P2F — expected to start its conversion in August 2022 — is scheduled to start operating for the Australia Post in mid-2023, with the second aircraft scheduled to start operating thereafter in late-2023.

Once converted, each A330P2F will be able to carry approximately 50 tonnes of cargo per flight. This cargo load is already more than double the capacity that any of the other freighters operating for the national postal service is offering, which is much more sustainable with lesser air movements for larger loads.

While A321P2F is smaller in size, it can still offer to carry an estimated 20 tonnes of cargo each flight, which results in twice as many parcels to be carried with lesser fuel required per kilo of mail and parcels uplifted — proving to be yet another sustainable option.

Charlotte Seet


  • Charlotte Seet

    Fascinated by aircraft from a very young age, Charlotte’s dream was to work alongside the big birds one day. Pursuing her dream, she went on to achieve her diploma in Aviation Management and is currently working on her degree in Aviation Business in Administration with a minor in Air Traffic Management. When she’s not busy with school assignments, you can find her aircraft spotting for long hours at the airport. In Charlotte’s heart, the Queen of the Skies will always be her favorite aircraft.

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