The cargo branch of Australian carrier Qantas, Qantas Freight, announced the expansion of its AU$1 billion (US$675 million) domestic and international airfreight agreement with Australia Post to support growing e-commerce demand for parcel shipment.
Under the seven-year agreement, Australia Post will have access to space on Qantas Freight’s freighter fleet, as well as priority access to bellyhold space on Qantas’ passenger fleet and space on Qantas’ global partner airlines. Qantas is a member of the oneworld alliance, which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways, among others.
According to Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, the agreement represents the parties’ confidence in future growth in e-commerce and will support rising demand for next-day delivery. “Consumer preferences and expectations are rapidly changing and together with Australia Post we’re responding by growing our dedicated freighter fleet to provide a better experience for consumers and businesses,” Joyce said.
Regarding the aforementioned fleet growth, Qantas Freight also said it will introduce up to three freighter-converted A321P2Fs, beginning in October 2020. Each of the A321P2Fs will add about nine tonnes of capacity, representing just under a 50% increase, compared to its current 737 freighters. Currently, the carrier has four 737-300Fs and one 737-400F.
While the A321P2Fs will represent an expansion of Qantas’ domestic freighter capacity, the carrier is also upgauging the freighters it leases to fly trans-Pacific routes. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which has had a long-standing ACMI lease agreement with Qantas Freight for the operation of two 747-400 freighters, said in an April statement that the agreement will be upgauged to cover ACMI leases of two 747-8Fs.