Category Archives: QANTAS Airways

QANTAS and Jetstar prepare to resume international flights in October

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

  • Flights to most international destinations to now resume late October 2021
  • Trans-Tasman flying to ramp up from July 2021
  • New flexibility for international bookings, with unlimited flight date changes

QANTAS Airways and Jetstar Airways are now planning to restart regular international passenger flights to most destinations from October 31, 2021 – a four month extension from the previous estimate of July, which had been in place since mid-2020.

The date change aligns with the expected timeframe for Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout to be effectively complete.

Capacity will be lower than pre-COVID levels, with frequencies and aircraft type deployed on each route in line with the projected recovery of international flying. International capacity is not expected to fully recover until 2024.

The Group remains in close consultation with the Federal Government around the reopening of international borders and will keep customers updated if further adjustments are required.

QANTAS is assessing the use of digital health pass apps to help support the resumption of COVID-safe international travel. The CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass smartphone apps are being trialled on the airline’s international repatriation flights.

QANTAS network

QANTAS is planning to resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg from October 31, 2021.

QANTAS won’t initially resume direct flights to New York, Santiago and Osaka, but remains committed to flying to these three destinations. In the meantime, customers will be able to fly to these destinations under codeshare or oneworld arrangements with partner airlines.

Jetstar network

Jetstar plans to resume flights to all of its 13 international destinations. Frequencies will be adjusted in line with the projected recovery of international flying.

Trans-Tasman

QANTAS and Jetstar are planning for a significant increase in flights to and from New Zealand from July 1, 2021.

The Group has the ability to respond to travel bubbles that may open.

  • Underlying Loss Before Tax: $1.03 billion
  • Statutory Loss Before Tax: $1.47 billion
  • $6.9 billion revenue impact from COVID-19 crisis in HY21 (down 75%)
  • Underlying operating cash flow: $1.05 billion
  • Total liquidity of $4.2 billion, providing capital for restructuring and buffer against uncertainty
  • Domestic airlines generating positive underlying cash flow
  • Losses in Qantas International offset by record Qantas Freight performance
  • Continued strong cash generation by Qantas Loyalty
  • Restructuring program on track to deliver $0.6 billion in cost benefits in FY21
  • International flying now aiming to restart end-October 2021

The Qantas Group has continued to navigate the impacts of the COVID crisis as it positions the company for recovery and balance sheet repair.

In the six month period – which covered Victoria’s extended lockdown and nationwide border closures – the Group managed to limit a $6.9 billion drop in revenue into a $1.03 billion Underlying Loss Before Tax.

The Group generated Underlying EBITDA of $86 million, reflecting the fundamental resilience of the portfolio.

The Group’s Statutory Loss Before Tax was $1.47 billion. This included further redundancy and restructuring costs of $284 million (in addition to the $642 million provided for in FY20) and a further $71 million write down of the A380 fleet in-line with its Australian dollar market value.

CEO COMMENTS                                                                                          

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “These figures are stark but not surprising.

“During the half we saw the second wave in Victoria and the strictest domestic travel restrictions since the pandemic began. Virtually all of our international flying and 70 per cent of domestic flying stopped, and with it went three-quarters of our revenue.

“Despite the huge challenges, these results show the Group’s underlying strength.

“When we had the opportunity to fly domestically, we saw significant pent up travel demand and generated positive cash flow.

“Qantas Loyalty still had significant income because the program has evolved to the stage where the vast majority of points are earned from activity on the ground. Qantas Freight had a record result and has been a natural hedge to the lack of international passenger flying, which has created a shortage of cargo space globally.

“These factors couldn’t overcome the massive impact of this crisis, but they have softened it.

We’ve maintained a high level of liquidity because we were quick to cut costs and because we’ve been able to raise debt and equity. This gives us the breathing room to deal with the levels of uncertainty we’re still facing, and funding for the restructuring that will ultimately speed up our recovery.

“Our priorities remain the safety of everyone who travels with us, getting as many of our people back to work as possible and generating positive cash flow to repair our balance sheet.

“The COVID vaccine rollout in Australia will take time, but the fact it’s underway gives us more certainty. More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks. And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.”

GROUP DOMESTIC

The Group’s domestic flying operations across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar generated positive underlying cashflow despite a circa 70 per cent decline in both revenue and capacity.

Underlying EBITDA was positive $71 million, with depreciation and amortization taking this to an EBIT loss of $407 million.

Improved planning processes have allowed rapid network and schedule changes that minimize exposure to sudden border closures and maximize revenue opportunities within a patchwork of restrictions. Twenty-three new domestic routes were announced in response to changing demand patterns as people looked for opportunities to travel within Australia. More new routes are planned in the second half.

Continued demand from the resources sector provided strong cashflow, with four additional Airbus A320s moved to Western Australia to support growth.

Broader restructuring will deliver significant and ongoing unit cost improvements across Qantas and Jetstar, with further cost reductions to be realized in the second half.

The Group’s domestic market share rose to around 70 per cent, helped by the addition of more than 20 large corporate accounts as well as growth in small-to-medium enterprises choosing Qantas in particular.

Both Qantas and Jetstar saw extremely strong leisure demand during periods when travel restrictions eased. Jetstar saw a trebling of bookings in November, with more than 250,000 bookings during sale activity.

GROUP INTERNATIONAL AND FREIGHT

Continued border closures meant international operations remained largely grounded throughout the first half, resulting in an Underlying EBITDA loss of $86 million for Group International, with depreciation and amortization taking this loss to $549 million. This was mostly driven by the cost of carrying the assets in these businesses but partly offset by a record performance by Qantas Freight.

The lack of passenger flights has created a temporary global shortage of space for cargo at a time when e-commerce is also surging – which Qantas Freight has been able to capitalize on. While this will ease when more international passenger services resume, much of the increased demand for e-commerce is expected to continue.

Qantas Freight received its first of three Airbus A321 freighters in October, taking its total operational fleet to 19. In addition, some of the Group’s passenger A330s and 787s are being used for freight-only operations.

Repatriation services operated on behalf of the Australian Government, plus flights to New Zealand as part of a one-way bubble arrangement, meant the Qantas Group operated 8 per cent of its pre-COVID flying – providing important operational readiness for the eventual opening of borders.

Jetstar airlines in Asia had their own COVID-related impacts, which couldn’t be softened to the same extent as Australian-based parts of the Group. In response, cash outflows and fleet sizes are being reduced, including six A320 aircraft from Jetstar Japan that will be relocated to the Australian domestic market given opportunities locally for cash positive flying.

QANTAS LOYALTY

Qantas Loyalty generated a strong cash contribution of $454 million despite limitations on travel redemptions and a 10 per cent decline in total credit card spending on Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards – two of its main revenue drivers.

Underlying Earnings Before Interest and Tax were $125 million (down 29 per cent versus pre-COVID).

Loyalty’s performance showed the benefits of diversifying the program in recent years, as well as high levels of engagement from members continuing to earn points on the ground.

Qantas health insurance grew in a generally static market and an expansion into home insurance was launched in December 2020. Shifts in consumer behavior during lockdown saw record revenue for Qantas Wine (up 74 per cent) and the Qantas Rewards Store (up 41 per cent).

Frequent Flyers continue to prioritize using their points for travel, with record levels of redemptions for flights (up 2.5 times) when domestic travel restrictions eased in November. A further spike is expected once international travel resumes, which will also drive earnings.

Qantas Loyalty signed multi-year deals with three of the major banks, including a significant expansion with Commonwealth Bank to be rolled out later this calendar year. A new and much broader partnership with Accor will also launch in mid-2021.

LOOKING AFTER CUSTOMERS

Looking after customers remains core, with a focus on creating COVID-safe environments across Qantas and Jetstar and offering high levels of flexibility to help offset uncertainty on borders. Recent initiatives and improvements include:

  • Fly Well – using technology to minimize physical contact at airports; social distancing in lounges; providing masks and sanitizing wipes on board; and enhanced cleaning throughout. (The allied Work Well program applies COVID-safe principles for employees in both frontline and office-based roles.)
  • Fly Flexible – offering unlimited date changes on all Qantas domestic and international fares through to at least February 2022, removing the biggest barrier to booking while border uncertainty persists.
  • Rewarding loyalty – a further 12 month status retain offer for Frequent Flyers; offering status match to high-tier members of other airline programs; and increasing the number of reward seats on domestic flights by 50 per cent.
  • Better value – extending complimentary drinks service on all Qantas domestic flights, in addition to existing inclusions like free Wi-Fi on 737s; eligible customers have access to 35 domestic lounges compared to the main competitor’s seven; Jetstar domestic fares as low as $19.
  • Extension of flight vouchers – Qantas has extended credit vouchers to enable travel until 31 December 2023 on domestic or international flights, with Jetstar doing the same for vouchers issued due to COVID-19 disruptions.
Jetstar Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS and Jetstar add flights as Western Australia eases restrictions

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas and Jetstar will operate more than 65 additional return flights from Perth to Melbourne and Sydney each week following the Western Australian Government’s decision to ease border restrictions.

The extra flights commence from December 14, 2020 compared with just nine return flights currently operated by the airlines each week. Qantas flights to Perth from Sydney and Melbourne are increasing from around five per week to almost five times daily.

The Qantas Club at Perth Airport will reopen in early December, joining the Business Lounge which is already open.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qantas has introduced a number of initiatives to help customers to book with greater flexibility, including allowing a flight to be moved free of charge, as well as introducing additional health and safety measures  through its Fly Well program.

QANTAS to outsource around 2,000 ground handling jobs at 10 airports

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

QANTAS has notified around 2,000 employees that it will move to outsource ground handling operations at 10 airports across Australia as it works to recover from the COVID crisis.

In August, the airline announced its reasons for needing to restructure its ground handling operations, which includes baggage handling and aircraft cleaning, and commenced a review of external bids from specialist ground handlers and in-house bids from employees and their representatives.

The bids were required to meet the following objectives:

  • Reducing the overall cost of ground handling operations (as QANTAS anticipated it could save approximately $100 million annually, based on pre-COVID levels of flying, through the use of third-party providers)
  • Avoiding large spending on ground handling equipment such as aircraft tugs and baggage loaders ($80 million over five years)
  • Better matching our ground handling services, and their cost, with fluctuating levels of demand.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) submitted a bid on behalf of employees in accordance with terms in the enterprise agreement. Teams from some individual airports submitted local proposals. Unfortunately, none of these bids met the objectives.

QANTAS granted three separate extensions to the original deadline for the bid following requests by the TWU, doubling the total period to 12 weeks.

Their resulting national bid was, by their own admission, ‘theoretical’ with no roadmap of how projected cost savings would be achieved. For instance, the proposal resulted in 1 million surplus labour hours – or around 900 roles – but no details on how to deal with that surplus.  It also did not meet the objectives relating to capital expenditure on ground services equipment nor matching the ground handling services (and their cost) to fluctuating levels of demand.

While proposals from employees at various ports did include detailed plans that would save around $18 million, there remained a significant gap compared to what was offered by third party providers.

A number of external bidders, some of whom already provide these services at 55 airports across Australia, were able to meet all of the objectives, including reducing annual costs by approximately $103 million. The preferred bidders are being notified today and, subject to consultation and finalising contract terms, transition is intended to occur in the first quarter of 2021.

As required under its enterprise agreement, QANTAS will now consult with its ground handling employees and their representatives on the next steps. Affected employees will be entitled to a redundancy package and given support to transition to new jobs outside the business. It’s expected that there will be a range of opportunities for some impacted team members with suppliers in the sector as travel demand gradually recovers.

Jetstar has already transitioned its ground handling operations at six airports to external suppliers – a decision that was announced at the same time QANTAS announced its review process.

In August, we also announced a separate proposal to outsource crew bus services in-and-around Sydney Airport, potentially affecting around 50 employees. This review process is ongoing with a decision expected before the end of the year.

This announcement follows a $2.7 billion statutory loss for the Group in FY20 due to COVID-19 and associated border restrictions. Further significant losses are projected in FY21 due to a drop of revenue in excess of $10 billion. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the QANTAS Group has taken on in excess of $1.5 billion in additional debt.

This announcement unfortunately brings job losses across the Group as a result of the COVID crisis and associated border closures to around 8,500 of its 29,000 pre-COVID workforce.

Comments from Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David:

“This is another tough day for QANTAS, particularly for our ground handling teams and their families. We thank every one of them for their professionalism and contribution over the years supporting our customers and operations.

“Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.

“While there has been some good news recently with domestic borders, international travel isn’t expected to return to pre-COVID levels until at least 2024. We have a massive job ahead of us to repay debt and we know our competitors are aggressively cutting costs to emerge leaner.

“The TWU’s in-house bid claimed that significant savings could be made but it failed to outline sufficient practical detail on how this might be achieved, despite us requesting this information multiple times throughout the process. Even with the involvement of a large accounting firm, the bid falls well short of what the specialist external providers were able to come up with.

“We have used these specialist ground handlers at many Australian airports for decades and they’ve proven they can deliver a safe and reliable service more efficiently than it’s currently done in-house. This isn’t a reflection on our people but it is a reflection of economies of scale and the urgent need we have because of COVID to unlock these efficiencies.”

 

QANTAS RESPONSE TO THE TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION’S CLAIMS

 

UNION CLAIM – These specialist ground handlers are unsafe.

FACT – This is not true and ignores the fact they have been safely supporting Qantas’ operations (as well as other airlines) at airports around the country, in some cases for decades. Outsourced ground handlers are required to abide by Qantas Group policies and procedures. The data shows that external ground handlers are no less safe and in some cases their safety performance is better. Take aircraft loading, which is a core part of what ground handlers do. An average of 0.4 aircraft damage events per 1000 flights for outsourced operations compared with 0.8 for Qantas staffed airports.

UNION CLAIM – The in-house bid process is a sham process.

FACT – The TWU requested that this process be added to the enterprise bargaining agreement back in 2012 and it has been approved by the union and employees in two subsequent agreements. At the request of the TWU, the deadline for the bid was extended on three separate occasions, allowing a total period of over 12 weeks.

Over the past three months we have provided the TWU with access to extensive data, met with them on nine occasions and thoroughly considered and costed their proposals. 23 employees were released on full pay to prepare the in-house bid.

Extracts from 2012 Workplace Determination:

[68] The TWU seeks the insertion of what is described as “the ACTU Protocol” – a revised version of a protocol dealing with contracting out and outsourcing developed first in 1996.


[69] The TWU contends that the key feature of the clause is the requirement to provide an opportunity for employees to prepare an in-house bid to demonstrate that savings can be generated without outsourcing.

UNION CLAIM – This is really about lowering workers’ wages and conditions.

FACT – This is not true. This has never been about employee terms and conditions – it is about overall efficiencies. Specialist ground handlers charge on a ‘per aircraft turn’ basis, which costs us around 40 per cent less than doing the work in house. This is due to their economies of scale and the fact that they can spread overheads and equipment costs over the many airlines they serve.

UNION CLAIM – QANTAS has violated the intent of the JobKeeper scheme, and abused taxpayers money. They should pay it back.

FACT – The lion’s share of Government support we’ve received has been through JobKeeper, which has been a lifeline for our employees who were stood down. We have fully complied with the spirit and purpose of JobKeeper – including recognising when jobs aren’t coming back and making those jobs redundant.

The rest of the government support was used to maintain critical domestic and international air services – which in turn generated paid work for our people.

The TWU’s demand that QANTAS pay back government support such as JobKeeper would require us to claw it back from their members – which makes no sense.

In June, while the majority of our employees were receiving JobKeeper, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was obvious that jobs would have to go: “These jobs have been lost because of the coronavirus. This is the COVID-19 recession. And for a business like QANTAS, that is about flying planes around the world, when you can’t do that, that has an obvious impact.”

QANTAS Airways aircraft photo gallery:

CNN: QANTAS CEO says passengers will need to be vaccinated for international flights

From CNN:

“Australia’s national carrier Qantas will require future international travelers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before flying.
The airline’s CEO Alan Joyce said in an interview with CNN affiliate Nine News on Monday that the move would be a “necessity” when coronavirus vaccines are readily available.
Joyce said the airline was looking at changing its terms and conditions to “ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft.”

QANTAS and Jetstar boost flights to the Sunshine State

 

QANTAS Airways and Jetstar Airways will operate more than 1200 extra return flights into the Sunshine State from New South Wales and Victoria in the lead up to Christmas, following the decision by the Queensland Government to lift border restrictions.

From December 1, 2020, the two airlines will operate more than 250 return flights per week across seven routes from Sydney. This compares with just 36 return flights per week currently.

Pending a final decision from the Queensland Government, QANTAS and Jetstar will also operate more than 160 flights per week from Melbourne from December 1. Jetstar will also operate four weekly services from Avalon to the Gold Coast from January.

The easing of border restrictions means both airlines will reinstate more than 10 routes which had been suspended providing more choice and a mix of premium and leisure travel.

The additional flights will return the Qantas Group’s flying schedule to around 60 percent of pre-COVID levels by Christmas. Both airlines will continue to monitor demand closely and look to add more flying as required.

Current route map:

Airline Route Current weekly return flights Weekly return flights December Lead-in fare (one-way)
Qantas Sydney-Brisbane 25 63 $199
Jetstar Sydney-Brisbane 4 44 $85
Qantas Sydney-Gold Coast 0 8 $153
Jetstar Sydney-Gold Coast 4 64 $69
Qantas Sydney-Hamilton Island 0 4 $233
Jetstar Sydney-Hamilton Island 0 7 $129
Qantas Sydney-Cairns 0 7 $236
Jetstar Sydney-Cairns 3 24 $144
Jetstar Sydney-Sunshine Coast 0 12 $79
Jetstar Sydney-Townsville 0 7 $124
Jetstar Newcastle-Gold Coast 4 4 $61
Jetstar Sydney-Proserpine 0 3 $109
Jetstar Melbourne-Proserpine 0 4 $146
Qantas Melbourne-Brisbane 0 28 $225
Jetstar Melbourne-Brisbane 0 35 $122
Qantas Melbourne-Gold Coast 0 7 $192
Jetstar Melbourne-Gold Coast 0 44 $114
Qantas Melbourne-Cairns 0 4 $287
Qantas Melbourne-Sunshine Coast 0 7 $199
Jetstar Melbourne-Sunshine Coast 0 15 $113
Jetstar Melbourne-Townsville 2 7 $125
Jetstar Avalon-Gold Coast 0 4 $99

In other news, QANTAS on November 23 operated its first flight between Mildura and Sydney, coinciding with the opening of the New South Wales border to Victoria.

The route was originally scheduled to start in March but was delayed due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions.

Flights will operate four days per week with the airline’s 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, offering more than 20,000 seats on the route each year.

The new service will be the only direct connection between Sydney and Mildura, saving travellers around two hours compared to flying via Melbourne.

QantasLink also operates direct flights between Mildura and Melbourne.

QANTAS aircraft photo gallery:

Sydney puts on a show for QANTAS Airways Centenary

Sydney has commemorated Qantas Airways’ 100-year anniversary by lighting up its iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as a larger-than-life birthday cake complete with illuminated candles that were blown out by a Qantas 787 as it did a low level overfly at 1,500 feet.

More than 1,300 LED tubes, 126 LED fixtures and 38 searchlights lit up the full expanse of the world’s most famous bridge in the ultimate tribute from Sydney, the city which has been home to Qantas for more than eight decades. The projection of 60 historic images and two, 65-metre-high birthday candles onto the southern and northern pylons completed the transformation, creating a birthday moment like no other.

Almost 200 passengers, including 100 Qantas staff, were on board the 100-minute flight which was a special Centenary Scenic Flight to mark the airline’s 100th year. The spectacular candle-blowing lights off moment was a surprise for not just those on the ground, but also those on board the flight which also took in showcased Sydney Harbour, HARS Aviation Museum in Shellharbour and Rose Bay – where Qantas Flying Boats were used in the 1930s and ’40s.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce said Qantas was honoured to receive such a special and spectacular Centenary birthday show from Sydney”.

“Qantas aircraft have been flying over Sydney Harbour Bridge for decades, so this was a spectacular way to mark our anniversary. It’s been a tough year for tourism but as more domestic borders open up, we’re ready to put more aircraft back in the air and bring people to see all that New South Wales has to offer,” he said.

The activation, executed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, complements a new campaign of activity designed to support the recovery of Sydney hospitality and tourism businesses.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Steve Cox said the Qantas Centenary provided an opportunity to send out a message of hope, both to Sydney businesses and to residents of Sydney and New South Wales.

“Sydney continues to shine as brightly as ever, with tourism businesses steadily reopening and operating in a COVID-safe environment, putting the wellbeing of visitors first. This stunt was just the beginning of what will be a truly amazing line-up of events coming up across the city, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Australia to Sydney this summer,” said Mr Cox.

Video:

QANTAS Airways celebrates 100 years of serving Australia

QANTAS Airways made this announcement:

Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS) today (November 16, 2020) marks 100 years since it was founded in the Australian outback.

On November 16, 1920, two veterans of the Australian Flying Corps, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, together with local grazier Fergus McMaster, founded what would later become the national carrier.

This happened just 17 years after the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers, two years after the end of World War One and at the tail end of the last major global pandemic, the Spanish Flu.

The new airline focused on conquering the “tyranny of distance” that was a major barrier to the growth of modern Australia. Its early chances of success were uncertain, to the point early backers called their investment “a donation”.

Initially carrying mail between outback towns, the airline was flying passengers to Singapore by the 1930s. By the end of the 1940s its strategic importance saw it nationalized and in the 1960s it was an early adopter of the jet aircraft that mainstreamed global travel. Qantas invented business class in the 1970s, switched to an all-747 fleet in the 1980s, was privatised in the 1990s, founded Jetstar in 2004, went through major restructuring in 2014 and, by 2020, had recently completed several important ‘firsts’ in non-stop travel to Europe and the US.

Qantas is the oldest continuously-operating airline in the world and the only one that (normally) flies to every single inhabited continent on earth.

Planned centenary celebrations have been significantly scaled back due to the impact of COVID – but Qantas will still mark the occasion with a low-level flyover of Sydney Harbour on the evening of its anniversary.

The flight path is expected to pass near Rose Bay where our Empire Flying Boats took off for Singapore between 1938 and 1942.

Video:

QANTAS adds three new routes from Canberra

QANTAS Airways has announced a major expansion of its network from the nation’s capital with three new routes commencing in the next month from Canberra.

Details of the three new routes are:

  • Canberra-Sunshine Coast will operate three times a week and start on Thursday 19 November
  • Canberra-Cairns will operate twice a week and starts on Saturday 21 November
  • Canberra-Hobart will operate three times a week and starts on Friday 4 December

The flights will be operated by QantasLink’s dual class Boeing 717s featuring 12 seats in Business and 98 seats in Economy. The new routes follow on from the recent successful launch of Canberra-Gold Coast flights, the reinstatement of flights to Perth and additional services to Brisbane.

Since state and territory border restrictions eased in September, Qantas has announced nine new routes across Australia.

Comments – to be attributed to Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David

“With international borders still closed, Australians are more inspired than ever to explore places in their own backyard.

“We’ve taken a fresh look at our network, creating new direct services, which were previously only available by connecting via another city, saving customers up to two hours travel time.

“These flights are great news for travellers who will now have more direct flights between Canberra and Cairns, Noosa and Hobart. It will also mean we can get more of our people back to work.”

 

World’s first Airbus A321P2F enters revenue service with QANTAS

ST Engineering, Airbus and their joint venture, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) achieved a key milestone in their joint A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program in September this year with the re-delivery of the ‘head of version’ to launch customer, Vallair. The Airbus A321 converted freighter, operated by QANTAS Airways for Australia Post, entered into service on October 27, 2020.

Both milestones marked the completion and ‘birth’ of the world’s first A321 converted freighter. EFW had received the original Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A321P2F from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in February this year, and the Validation STC from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in July. Operator specific enhancements were subsequently incorporated into the freighter and certified prior to its re-delivery.

 

The A321P2F is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). With a generous payload-range capability that can above 28 metric tons (more than 61,800 lbs) over 2,300 nautical miles, the A321P2F is the ideal narrowbody freighter aircraft for express domestic and regional operations. The conversion features a large main cargo door which is hydraulically actuated and electrically locked, a Class E cargo compartment with full rigid 9g barrier for optimal protection between crew and cargo, and a redefined flight deck that includes supernumerary seats and a new lavatory.

The collaboration between ST Engineering, Airbus and EFW is the only OEM solution for A321P2F in the market. EFW, which is leading the overall programme as well as marketing & sales efforts, has been seeing a keen interest in the solution, which is expected to further grow with the first A321P2F unit entering the market. To meet rising demand for dedicated freighter aircraft, ST Engineering and EFW are planning to set up additional modification sites in China, Germany and the U.S. by 2023 to ramp up conversion capacity to about 23 slots per year.

QANTAS to launch a new route between Sydney and Launceston

QANTAS Airways has announced it will launch a new route between Sydney and Launceston for the summer holidays following the easing of border restrictions between New South Wales and Tasmania.

Beginning December 4, 2020, QANTAS will operate three return services per week with its Boeing 717 aircraft, increasing to four return services from the following week onwards until February 1, 2021.

This will give travellers almost 900 additional seats on the route each week. The airline will look to add more flights beyond eight week period if there is demand. This is the first time the flying kangaroo has flown Launceston-Sydney since 2004.

With borders opening up, QANTAS will also restart flights between Hobart to Sydney, with 11 return services per week from November 6, 2020.

This announcement follows two other new routes the QANTAS Group has launched to Tasmania in response to demand – Brisbane-Hobart with QANTAS and Gold Coast-Hobart with Jetstar.

As a result of these additional flights, the QANTAS Group will offer more than 125,000 seats between Tasmania and the mainland in December, representing more than 10 percent of total published QANTAS Group domestic capacity for the month.

QANTAS Airways aircraft photo gallery: