LONDON – Australian flag carrier Qantas has held a charity auction of items from the cabin of an Airbus A330 passenger aircraft before it travels overseas to be converted into a dedicated air freighter.
Aviation enthusiasts were invited to an open house in Qantas’ Hangar 96 at Sydney Airport on the weekend to inspect and bid on a number of items from the widebody aircraft.
Items up for grabs included a bar cart, exit signs and a business class suite, to help ensure as much of the aircraft interior is reused, recycled or repurposed as possible.
The auction raised $16,300 for Qantas Pathfinders, a group of current and past Qantas staff which raises funds for NextSense (previously Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children).
The aircraft in question has spent 15 years of safely flying passengers around Australia and overseas. This particular Airbus A330 (VH-EBE “Kangaroo Valley”) will shortly head to Dresden, Germany, to be converted into a dedicated freighter and will return to Australia as part of the Qantas Freight fleet.
The conversion will be performed by EFW, a specialist joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering.
Conversion work will include full strip-out of the cabin (seats, galleys, toilets), replacing the existing cabin door with a larger freight door and installing a cargo handling system.
Qantas Executive Manager of Freight, Catriona Larritt, said the auction was a fun way to offer enthusiasts their own piece of Qantas history and a creative way to demonstrate Qantas’ commitment to cutting waste to landfill.
“We’re really pleased to give people this unique chance to own a piece of Qantas history and raise money for a great charity. It’s also a nice way to highlight our commitment to minimising waste as part of our sustainability focus.
“Kangaroo Valley has done us proud by carrying millions of passengers safely around Australia, Asia and the Pacific for 15 years,” Ms Larritt said.
“In its new adventure as a dedicated freighter it will carry tonnes of imports and exports from fresh flowers and live seafood to thousands of e-commerce parcels and packages.”
Once converted, the A330 will be able to carry up to 50 tonnes of freight on each flight.
The Qantas fleet
The Qantas Group is steadily renewing its domestic and international fleet, with orders and purchase right options for almost 300 aircraft. Eleven new aircraft are scheduled to arrive in 2023 alone.
The new arrivals will see some older passenger aircraft, including two A330s, converted into freighters to help meet increased demand for air cargo that has been fuelled by a sustained increase in e-commerce.
Qantas Freight currently operates a fleet of 18 aircraft, and the first of an additional six A321 cargo freighters is scheduled to arrive early next year.
A second A330 is currently undergoing passenger to freighter conversion and is scheduled to join the dedicated Australia Post freight fleet from later this year.