Qantas has confirmed it will take delivery of three more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners as soon as next year after pausing them in May 2020.
The airline currently has 11 of the 236-seat widebodies, which it flies to London, New York, LA and San Francisco.
The deliveries mean Qantas will come good on its expanded order for six more 787-9s placed in 2018 and which were originally intended for delivery last year.
Its first, VH-ZNA, arrived in Qantas’ fleet in October 2017 and the aircraft is best known for completing a Project Sunrise test flight direct between London and Sydney in 2019.
The new aircraft are thought to have the registrations VH-ZNL, VH-ZHM and VH-ZNN, according to Planespotters.net.
The announcement came as Qantas said it would convert two of its widebody A330-200 passenger aircraft into freighters in response to a surge in online shopping spurred on by COVID.
One of the aircraft, which holds 28 business and 243 economy seats, will be used in the business’ international freight network, while another will transport packages for its fleet that serves Australia Post.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline’s freight business had “boomed” during the pandemic, and that much of this effect will continue even as restrictions end.
“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,” he said.
Qantas currently has a fleet of 20 A330s, 11 of which are the -200 variant and nine are the -300 model.
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.