Australia’s Qantas is set to convert two Airbus A330 aircraft into freighters, amid signs of consumers moving their shopping habits online. The two converted A330s will be operated for Qantas Freight’s international network, and as part of a dedicated fleet that serves Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business. Qantas says following the conversions, the seat capacity of the two A330s will be replaced by a “more efficient scheduling” of the carrier’s passenger network. Not only that, it will also receive three more Boeing 787-9s in 2022.

Conversion of the two A330s will be conducted by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between Airbus and Singapore’s ST Engineering. The conversion will involve seat removal, replacement of the existing cabin door with a larger door, as well as the installation of a cargo handling system.

The first A330 will begin conversion works in August 2022, and is expected to start operations for Australia Post in mid-2023, while the second converted A330 will begin operations in late-2023. A footnote within the carrier’s press release indicates that the two converted aircraft will raise 

Data from Planespotters show that Qantas has 18 A330-200s and 10 -300s. A footnote within the press release indicates that the converted A330 will be the -200 variant, and will be capable of carrying up to 50 tonnes in payload.

Meanwhile, EFW’s product brochure on the A330P2F (passenger-to-freighter) show that the A330-200P2F is capable of carrying up to 61 tonnes in payload and flying up to 3,900 nautical miles, while the A330-300P2F can carry up to 63 tonnes in payload and flying up tp 3,600 nautical miles.

Our freight business has boomed during the pandemic and while some of that is temporary, COVID has accelerated the permanent expansion of eCommerce and online shopping in this country,” says Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce. “That’s why we’re working with key partners like Australia Post to respond to this structural change and increase the amount of parcels that we can carry by air to ensure they arrive at people’s homes as quickly as possible.”

The converted A330 aircraft for Australia Post will be able to carry around 50 tonnes of cargo each flight, more than double the capacity of other freighters operating for the national postal service.”

In addition to the A330 converted freighters, Qantas is set to receive its third A321P2F sometime this week, which will be operated for Australia Post. This particular aircraft previously operated passenger services for its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, and is capable of carrying up to 20 tonnes of payload.

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