Qantas and Australia Post have signed a seven-year agreement worth more than $1 billion which will give the carrier extra capacity and flexibility to make its parcel deliveries.

The new agreement gives Australia Post customers access to Qantas Freight’s dedicated freighter aircraft and priority access to the cargo space on up to 1,500 Qantas and Jetstar passenger flights daily.

To meet the predicted growing demand for parcel delivery, three new aircraft are being added to the Qantas freighter network for AustPost to use.

The Airbus A321P2Fs (Passenger to Freighter) will have nearly 50 per cent more capacity – or an additional nine tonnes – compared to the existing Boeing 737 freighters. The first A321P2F is due to enter the fleet in October 2020.

Christine Holgate CEO and managing director, Australia Post, said the agreement will provide flexibility to help the carrier manage increased volumes at peak times, such as in the lead up to Christmas.

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

The partnership between Australia Post and Qantas dates back to when the national carrier first started flying airmail for the postal service in 1922. More recently, in 2016 the two Australian companies signed a five year deal to establish a domestic air-freighter network to be used exclusively by Australia Post and StarTrack customers.

“This agreement will further boost our unrivalled, dedicated air freighter network with newer aircraft and more capacity right up until the opening of the new Western Sydney airport in 2026,” Holgate said.

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

Qantas Group 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,” Joyce 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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