GROWING domestic demand for parcels has driven a link-up with Qantas and Australia Post. The two iconic Aussie organisations recently announced an expanded domestic and international air-freight agreement.

The seven-year agreement is valued at more than $1bn and is to give Australia Post customers access to Qantas Freight’s dedicated freighter fleet. The deal also includes access to cargo space on up to 1500 Qantas and Jetstar passenger flights to more than 110 destinations every day, in addition to space on Qantas partner airlines around the world.

The deal will also see the introduction of up to three Airbus A321s to the freighter network used for Australia Post. These aircraft will be converted to freighters from passenger-carrying planes.

Each A321 will add nearly 50% more capacity – or an additional 9 tonnes – compared to the existing Boeing 737 freighters, with the first A321 due to enter the fleet in October 2020.

Australia Post CEO and managing director Christine Holgate said the strategic alliance with Qantas means Australia Post and its customers could continue to power the eCommerce engine that’s driving Australian trade domestically and internationally.

“Australia Post plays a critical role connecting Australian businesses and communities to each other and the rest of the world, and with the continued growth in online shopping, we can now take it to new heights,” she said.

“The enhanced air freighter network complements $900m in investment across our network through automation and infrastructure, and provides the speed, flexibility and reliability customers expect.”

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Ms Holgate said the alliance would enable the company to build flexibility into the air-freight network to manage increased volume and demand in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Last year we flew more than 400 tonnes of mail on our busiest night, and more than 40m parcels during December; this year, we expect to exceed both those targets,” she said.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the seven-year agreement was a vote of confidence in the future growth in eCommerce and will support the rising demand for next-day delivery.

“This builds on the longstanding partnership between Australia’s national carrier and the nation’s postal service to deliver for customers,” he said.

“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.”

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