Qantas Freight to add six Airbus A321 freighter conversions

Source: Qantas

Qantas Freight will increase its domestic fleet with six Airbus A321 passenger to freighter (P2F) aircraft to meet growing e-commerce demand from its customers.

The Australian airfreight carrier said the A321s, which are expected to progressively arrive between 2024 and mid-2026, will be sourced on the open market and converted to freighters.

This conversion work will include removing seats and the installation of a cargo handling system.

The A321’s will replace the long-term fleet of five Boeing 737 freighters that are approaching the end of their economic life.

Qantas said that each A321 freighter can carry 23 tonnes of cargo, nine tonnes more than the older 737s, and are around 30% more fuel efficient per tonne of freight carried.

Qantas currently has three A321P2Fs and said replacing the remaining 737 freighters with these newer aircraft will generate extra efficiency in training and maintenance.

Qantas is also converting two widebody A330s to freighters, one of which will be used on the domestic network. It will also continue to supplement its fleet with wet-leased aircraft.

Qantas Group chief executive 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.”

Qantas recently announced an extended deal with Atlas Air for the latter to provide long-haul, widebody maindeck capacity with two Boeing 747-400Fs to support Australia, Asia and US supply chains. An additional 747-400F deal has also been extended to service a US-Australia-Hong Kong route.

Atlas Air extends partnership with Qantas Freight

Qantas to add more converted freighters to meet soaring demand

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]