Qantas Freight expands to meet demand for online shopping


Qantas Freight will increase its domestic fleet with six Airbus A321s to meet growing customer demand for e-commerce.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the national carrier’s freight division has seen a dramatic shift in freight volumes, in part due to a structural shift to online shopping.

The six A321 freighters, which are expected to arrive gradually between the start of calendar year 2024 and mid-2026, will replace the long-term fleet of five Boeing 737 freighters that are approaching the end of their economic life.

Each A321 freighter can carry 23 tonnes of cargo, nine tonnes more than older 737s, and is around 30% more fuel efficient per tonne of cargo carried.

The aircraft will be purchased on the open market and converted from carrying passengers to cargo, subject to commercial negotiations. Their model designation is A321P2F, which stands for “Passenger to Freighter”. This conversion work will include the removal of seats and the installation of a cargo handling system.

Qantas currently has three A321P2Fs and replacing the remaining 737 freighters with these newer aircraft will simplify Freight’s fleet, bringing additional efficiency in training and maintenance.

Customers are expected to benefit from increased reliability, network flexibility and a net increase in freight carrying capacity from Qantas.

Qantas is also converting two A330 wide-body aircraft into freighters, one of which will be used on the home network and will continue to supplement its fleet with wet-leased aircraft.

Qantas Freight posted a record performance in the first half of FY22 due to increased e-commerce demand, higher international yields due to supply chain disruption and reduced capacity on passenger flights. Further details of Qantas Freight’s performance will be provided in the group’s annual results on August 25, 2022.

Comments from Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce:

“Qantas Freight plays a vital role in Australia’s supply chain and this investment will expand our operations so they can meet increased demand for next day delivery,” said Mr Joyce.

“Qantas Freight has been one of the group’s best performers during the pandemic, as Australians have quickly shifted to online shopping. While some of this change is temporary, demand remains well above pre-pandemic levels, even with nearly all COVID-related restrictions lifted.

“This is one of the largest investments ever made in our domestic freight fleet, which will allow Qantas Freight to capture more of this demand and provide the opportunity to help Freight further grow its income and profits.

“The first three A321P2Fs have been a fantastic addition to our fleet and operating a single type of narrow-body aircraft in the future will allow us to generate more operational efficiencies and significantly reduce emissions per tonne of aircraft. freight transported.”

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