As a third dedicated A321 P2F freighter takes to the skies this week ahead of Christmas, Australia Post and Qantas have today announced two Airbus A330 200 passenger aircraft will be converted into freighters to help support the ongoing increased demand for online shopping.

The introduction of the two Airbus A330 P2F – one to operate for Australia Post domestically and the other for Qantas internationally – is an exciting expansion of the fleet to make it the largest in the southern hemisphere.

The third A321 P2F and converted A330 P2F will be added to Australia Post’s dedicated freighter fleet of 12 aircraft, further strengthening Qantas Freight’s long-standing agreement with Australia Post, as both organisations seek to create a sustainable and long-term solution for eCommerce deliveries around the country.

It is part of a continued push by Australia Post to increase efficiency and reduce emissions through air freight, which includes aircraft with a lower carbon footprint and the potential use of alternative fuels, maximising the use of passenger flights where possible, as well as ensuring that sustainability is a key principle of network design – for example, making sure the most fuel efficient aircrafts operate on the largest volume sectors.

Paul Graham, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Australia Post said the new aircraft would provide an important boost to Australia Post’s existing dedicated air freighter network operated by Qantas.

“Australia Post plays a critical role 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 eCommerce has grown by more than 76 per cent when compared to just two years ago.

“The two A321 P2F aircraft already in the skies, and the third taking off this week, provide our network with critical additional capacity, flexibility and reliability, while also improving the sustainability of our air freight operations, as each aircraft can carry over 70 per cent more 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,” said Mr Graham.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the conversion of the two widebody aircraft would significantly increase capacity for both domestic and international services, while supporting an expansion of services for Australia Post. 

“Demand for air freight has dramatically increased due to the growth of online shopping during the pandemic. It is predicted that much of this increased demand will continue beyond the recent surge as Australia catches up with other nations where online retail accounts for three times the volume we have here at the moment,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’re responding by growing our dedicated freighter fleet which will benefit online shoppers and businesses across Australia by increasing the amount of parcels we can carry and ensuring they arrive as quickly as possible. 

“Our Asian and Trans-Tasman freight markets are also busy with high demand for quality Australian produce, whether it’s abalone into Shanghai or avocadoes into Singapore.”

The continued fleet renewal will see the new A330 P2F converted freighters join the fleet in 2023, and once converted, the Qantas Group will operate a total of 17 dedicated freighter aircraft.

The partnership between Australia Post and Qantas dates back to when the national carrier first started flying airmail for the postal service in 1922.

Source: Australia Post