Making Space for Cargo on Planes

The ongoing volatility in the shipping industry has forced many Australian importers to choose airfreight over sea cargo when their goods are time-sensitive. The result is that just like ocean shipments, air consignment rates are also on the increase. With the recent opening up of borders, some exporters are complaining that capacity for belly cargo on passenger flights is becoming scarce as airlines scramble to fill up seats instead.

Qantas has said that those exporting to the USA should be aware that, due to high demand for their passenger services, there are ongoing delays with uplift of Classic bookings as Express and Priority shipments have higher onload priority. All Classic shipments will continue to be waitlisted until space is available and they recommend upgrading bookings to Express or Priority if the shipment is time-sensitive.

Air freight prices continue to move upwards in response to demand and capacity constraints driven by unprecedented levels in disruption across all supply chains. There is a host of factors behind this disruption, including the new Omicron variant of Covid and the fluctuation of oil prices.

In a significant announcement yesterday (07 December 2021), Qantas said it will convert two of its Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into freighters.

One of the converted widebody freighters will be used in Qantas Freight’s international network, while the other will be a new addition to the dedicated fleet that serves Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business.

Moreover, Qantas Freight will receive its third Airbus A321P2F freighter this week, which will also operate for Australia Post. The narrow body aircraft previously operated passenger services for Jetstar. The freighter will provide additional capacity ahead of what’s expected to be the busiest Christmas period ever for air cargo.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the conversion of the two widebody A330 aircraft would significantly increase capacity for both domestic and international freight.

“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,” Mr Joyce said. “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.”

The aircraft will be converted by EFW, a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering. Conversion work will include removing seats, replacing the existing cabin door with a larger door and the installation of a cargo handling system.

As licensed Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders, Colless Young offers professional service and advice on all your international cargo requirements, both air and sea cargo. We provide a complete range of import and export logistics services, at all major Australian ports and airports. Call us for correct information, including updated shipping schedules and freight rates.