LONDON – Qantas Airlines is set to add an additional six Airbus A321 Freighters to its fleet to meet the ever-growing e-commerce demand from its customers.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the carrier like many others around the globe saw a sharp increase in the demand for air cargo, which was partly encouraged by the quick rise in online shopping as businesses and shops closed down, many companies moved online in order to keep their business open, which with the growth of the global freighter market has allowed them to reach more customers.
The Six A321 Freighters are expected to be delivered on an incremental basis, with the first due in early 2024 and the last by mid-late 2026, with the planes being brought in to replace the ageing Boeing 737 freighters that the carrier currently operates.
Qantas Freight Performing Well in Q2 Results
The A321 Freighter is able to carry an additional 9 tonnes of cargo per flight, while also boasting around a 30 percenter more fuel effect flight per tonne of freight carried, something which has become a major line of importance for global carriers as the cost of fuel continues to rise.
In addition to the A321 freighters, the Australian flag carrier is also covering two widebody A330s to freighters, with one of them being prepared to be used on domestic network services.
Qantas Freight has a record performance in the first half of the Financial year which is mainly due to the increased demand for e-commerce but has also been driven by the reduction of passenger capacity which has allowed additional cargo to be loaded on commuter flights.
Comments from Qantas
Qantas Group CEO 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.”