Long haul, short haul… shopping haul?

Published on 5th April 2019 at 16:53

Freight is great: The containers are specially shaped to maximise how much can be stored inside while also managing to fit inside the freighter’s fuselage.

There are no window seats on this Qantas flight. In fact, there are no windows…not that you’d see much anyway.

It only flies after dark.

Last night, while you were sleeping, Qantas transported over 240,000 kilograms of shirts, suits, sunnies, socks, shoes – and much more – across our domestic freight network.

Freight is a key part of our business, and over the last few years, global demand has strengthened off the back of online shopping mania.

We move about 55 million kilograms of items a year, from clothing to Formula 1 racing cars to helicopters. (We flew a rhinoceros across the Tasman Sea once, too.)

You can probably guess which month is our busiest.

In the lead up to Christmas, we’ll ship about three million kilograms worth of items.

Thankfully, around this time, we operate a codeshare with a North Pole, sleigh-bound freighter that is known for its extraordinary capacity and speed.

Today, Qantas Freight is Australia’s leading cargo carrier and cargo terminal operator with a fleet of dedicated freighters as well as being able to use the belly space of our passenger services to get your online shopping to your door.

And this week we announced that two next generation 747-8F – the most efficient freighter aircraft in service – will join our fleet, operated by our good mates Atlas Air*, servicing cargo hubs in China and the US.

Our freighter fleet also includes a Boeing 767-300 ER and five 737s.

We also use four Bae146-300 jet freighters known as the “curfew busters” from our colleagues at Cobham.  This aircraft is allowed to operate a limited number of services during the night to busy capital city airports because of the low noise levels they generate. And the fact they usually avoid flying over residential areas on approach to landing.

Our domestic freighter network operates four nights a week from Monday to Thursday and because there’s no mail deliveries on Saturdays, there’s no need for Friday night flying. But mail is also transported in the belly space of our passenger flights to make sure the post arrives in time on Mondays.

The Qantas Freight team from aircraft loaders to the pilots who fly them are perhaps the unsung heroes of e-commerce.

They keep our economy ticking, our couriers busy, and our wardrobes full.

Next time you’re at the airport, keep an eye out for the window-less flying kangaroo.

*subject to government and regulatory approval