Qantas is expanding its freight fleet to keep up with the growing online shopping market bolstered by the pandemic and Christmas.
It will convert two Airbus 330 aircraft – one will be used by Australia Post to deliver parcels around the country, and the second will serve the international network. These will be ready by 2023.
A third Airbus A321P2F freighter will join the Qantas Freight fleet this week which will also be used by Australia Post in the lead up to what's expected to be the busiest Christmas ever for air cargo.
"People are now used to and they expect that when they order something online, it's there within a day or two," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told 9News.
"Qantas is getting itself ready for that demand… by Christmas, three Qantas A321 freighters will be in operation for Australia Post."
Australia Post CEO Paul Graham welcomed the addition, saying: "It's fantastic… bringing that capacity when it's needed, allowing that capacity to also roll through to the New Year as we continue to see growth."
Online sales initially driven by COVID-19 lockdowns show no signs of slowing down, and this year's extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales made November the biggest online shopping month in history.
Sales were up 13 per cent on last year and up 76 per cent on 2019.
Between November 22 and December 2, Australia Post delivered 2.3 million parcels every single weekday.
When the two A330 aircraft are ready in 2023 they will significantly increase capacity for both domestic and international freight.
"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," Mr Joyce said.
Once the conversions are complete, Qantas will operate up to 25 dedicated freighter aircraft.
Qantas will also take delivery of three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners during 2022.