Australia Post says the latest addition to its domestic air freighter network provides greater capacity and flexibility for its customers amid the growing online shopping market.
As reported by Australian Aviation on May 15, Qantas Freight has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-400F freighter, with the one-time British Airways-operated aircraft touching down in Australia at the end of its ferry flight from the United States on Sunday, May 14.
The aircraft joins the Qantas Freight subfleet which delivers domestic mail, parcels and Express Post for Australia Post and its subsidiary StarTrack Express as part of a five-year, $500 million contract signed in 2015. It has been painted in StarTrack livery with the Qantas flying kangaroo on the tail.
Australia Post said on Wednesday the 737-400F, which joins five other aircraft in the dedicated fleet, was capable of carrying 16,500kg of cargo and is the largest freighter aircraft operating scheduled services in Australia.
“The main aim for us is to help Australian businesses, including those in rural and regional areas, stay strong in a competitive and global market, and this new plane sets us apart from our competitors,” Australia Post group chief operations officer and StarTrack chief executive Bob Black said in a statement.
“We know that online shopping continues to grow because of the price, range and convenience of products available on domestic and international marketplaces. We’ve continued to make significant investments in our delivery network because we’re committed to helping Australian businesses grow by meeting the changing needs of their customers.”
Registered VH-XNH, the 737 has seen service with Air Europe, Dan-Air and British Airways. More recently it was operated by US charter operator Xtra Airways. After a period of storage it was converted to a freighter at Dothan, Alabama.
Like Qantas Freight’s existing 737-300F freighters, the 737-400F will be operated by Qantas’s Express Freighters Australia subsidiary.
Qantas international and freight chief executive Gareth Evans said: “This new fleet is about providing Australia Post with the capability it needs to bring Australians a great delivery service and respond to the big changes we’re seeing with the online shopping boom.”
“We’re working closely with Australia Post across the full scale the Qantas Group’s international and domestic networks, and it’s exciting to be adding to that with the arrival of our largest dedicated freighter.”