Qantas has signed an expanded partnership with Australia Post, this will see them become the launch operator for the Airbus A321P2F.
From October 2020 Qantas will introduce up to three passenger to freighter (P2F) converted Airbus A321 aircraft, that will allow for greater cargo capacity.
Compared to their existing fleet of Boeing 737-300 Freighters, the A321P2F can carry around 50 percent more cargo; this equates to around nine extra tonnes.
Airbus figures show the A321P2F has a total payload capability of 27.9 metric tonnes over two decks. This consists of 10 containers on the lower deck and 14 on the main deck.
Depending on its configuration and payload, the aircraft is listed with a range of 2,300 nautical miles.
As to where the aircraft will come from, no announcement has been made; however, Flight Global states two Jetstar A321s are likely candidates for the program.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas, says the agreement is a reflection of the growing demand for next-day deliveries, as a result of increased online shopping.
Last year alone, Qantas’ busiest day saw 400 tonnes of mail flown on their busiest night and over 40 million parcels in December.
Qantas predicts these figures will be overtaken during this year’s Christmas rush.
The acquisition of the new freighter aircraft, and the addition of greater automation within their network, will further establish Qantas and Australia Post as the leading dedicated air freight handlers in Australia.
With Western Sydney International Airport set to open in 2026, the established set of new freighters will allow Qantas and Australia Post to ship cargo far easier than by existing means.
The agreement is spanned over seven years and is valued at over A$1 billion, covering domestic and international air freight.
Earlier this year Qantas announced it would acquire two Boeing 747-8 Freighters, to replace their 747-400 Freighters. Unfortunately for plane spotters, the aircraft will be operated by Atlas and in their own colours.
Qantas’ partnership with Australia Post dates back to 1992 and has been renewed under various conditions since.