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Qantas Introduces Transformed A330 Freight Aircraft

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Qantas Introduces Transformed A330 Freight Aircraft

Qantas Introduces Transformed A330 Freight Aircraft. Qantas has unveiled its latest achievement, a converted A330-200 freighter known as VH-EBF, aptly named “Hercules.” This aircraft underwent conversion from a passenger configuration to a dedicated freighter.

The Conversion Journey

VH-EBF, christened Hercules, concluded its last commercial passenger flight in November of the previous year. It then embarked on a transformative journey to Dresden, Germany, where it underwent the conversion process, transitioning from a passenger aircraft (P2P) to a freighter (P2F).

Read Also: Rachel Yangoyan Named New CEO of QantasLink

Operational Collaboration with Australia Post

In collaboration with Australia Post, the converted A330 commenced its operation, embarking from Dresden, with stops in Busan and Singapore, en route to its final destination, Cairns. The formal unveiling of the aircraft took place on a noteworthy Sunday.

Expanding Freight Capabilities

Qantas Freight is undergoing a significant transformation, with plans to introduce nine new A321 P2F aircraft into its fleet, bringing the total to twelve. Additionally, one more A330 P2F is slated for inclusion. This expansion represents a substantial enhancement of Australia Post’s cargo handling capabilities.

Increased Freight Capacity

Australia Post notes that the newly converted A330-200P2F aircraft effectively doubles the cargo capacity of its largest freighter. With the ability to handle 130 tonnes of cargo each night, it will initially be employed on routes between the east coast and Perth, facilitating the transportation of StarTrack and Express Post parcels.

Environmental Impact

This investment is pivotal in reducing Australia Post’s carbon emissions. By replacing a B737F, the A330 P2F considerably diminishes carbon emissions per kilogram of cargo, emitting 42% less than its predecessor. Furthermore, the enhanced cargo capacity of the A330 significantly reduces fuel consumption for each parcel transported.

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Qantas’ Fleet Revamp

The introduction of the transformed A330 into Qantas Freight’s fleet is part of a comprehensive fleet renewal program. Internationally, Qantas is set to receive 12 new 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s to replace the aging A330 fleet. A separate order for 12 specially adapted A350-1000 jets is also in place to launch Project Sunrise.

Domestically, the airline plans to acquire 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s for its domestic routes, with the flexibility to acquire more. The subsidiary brand, Jetstar, has already begun welcoming its new fleet of 38 A320neos, consisting of 18 A321LRs and 20 A321XLR aircraft, which provide an extended range.

Read Also: QantasLink Welcomes New CEO Amid Leadership Changes

Recent Fleet Additions

Recently, Qantas received its last 787, VH-ZNN ‘Snowy River,’ following the deliveries of VH-ZNM ‘Mateship’ and VH-ZNL ‘Billabong.’ These 787-9 aircraft feature 42 business class lie-flat bed seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 166 economy seats.

Collaboration with Finnair

In addition to its fleet investments, Qantas has struck a deal that allows Finnair aircraft and crew to operate Qantas services to Singapore and Bangkok. During the initial phase of this agreement, Finnair’s pilots and cabin crew will operate Qantas-booked A330 flights, while customers will continue to receive Qantas’ renowned services, including food, beverages, amenities, inflight entertainment, and baggage allowance.

From late 2025, these aircraft will transition to a ‘dry lease’ arrangement, with Qantas pilots and cabin crew assuming operational control. Finnair, the national carrier of Finland, boasts a fleet of eight A330s, with the latest addition, OH-LTU, delivered in October 2010.

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

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Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed. In a recent development, Qatar Airways, a long-standing user of Inmarsat-now-Viasat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band satellite-based inflight connectivity service, has indicated its intention to offer SpaceX’s Starlink Aviation onboard Internet to its passengers on a complimentary basis. This offering will be accessible to passengers with a simple “one-click” process.

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Rollout on Specific Aircraft and Routes

According to an official press release from Qatar Airways, the low-latency In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service will be introduced on “specific aircraft and routes.” The airline has also mentioned that they are currently in the pre-launch phase of the rollout strategy in collaboration with Starlink. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, has expressed that Starlink is “set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.”

This news emerged following the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO event in Long Beach, where Qatar Airways Group’s Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. During this event, Starlink executives met with airline representatives in a nearby hotel.

Changing Landscape in In-Flight Connectivity

The Qatar Airways-Starlink collaboration signifies a shift in the in-flight connectivity landscape. Traditional GEO satellites are being challenged by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink. For example, Flexjet has announced plans to replace the Viasat hardware on some of its aircraft with Starlink.

Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat, coupled with these changes, has led to some Inmarsat value-added resellers reevaluating their positions. SITA, a service provider to Qatar Airways, has already disclosed its intention to exit the cabin connectivity market by January 2025.

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Read Also: Qantas Loyalty Chief Olivia Wirth Resigns Amidst Ongoing Leadership Transition and Controversies

Seeking Clarity from Qatar Airways

Runway Girl Network reached out to Qatar Airways to seek clarification on several points. They inquired about:

  • Qatar Airways plan regarding the replacement of Inmarsat (now Viasat) GX inflight connectivity hardware with Starlink.
  • Whether Starlink will be deployed across Qatar Airways’ entire fleet.
  • Commencement dates for supplemental type certifications and Starlink installations.
  • Which aircraft type will be the first to receive the new hardware.
  • The impact of SITA’s decision to cease being a GX value-added reseller on Qatar Airways’ decision to select Starlink.
  • Qatar Airways’ plans for continuing to roll out Inmarsat GX on its 787-9s.

Qatar Airways Response

In response to these queries, a Qatar Airways spokesperson stated via email that they would keep Runway Girl Network updated on any future operational developments. In a follow-up exchange, when further clarity on the deal was sought, the spokesperson requested the removal of a specific phrase from their press release.

Implications and Future Plans

In the absence of comprehensive details, it seems logical for Qatar Airways to consider introducing Starlink initially on its 787-8s. This fleet has seen recent in-seat In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) upgrades but still lacks true broadband connectivity.

Once Starlink is operational on Qatar Airways aircraft, passengers can anticipate complimentary access to ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up up to 350 Mbps, which can be used for various Internet-based services including video streaming, gaming, web browsing, and more. In contrast, the airline presently charges $10 for inflight access to its ‘Super Wi-Fi.

See also  Qatar Airways to Offer Free High-Speed Inflight WiFi By Starlink

Read Also: Qatar Airways Elevates In-Flight Connectivity with Starlink Partnership

Conclusion

Qatar Airways, in its press release, also proudly asserts its position as “the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink.” Other notable Starlink customers include Part 135 operator JSX, Hawaiian Airlines (launch delayed until early next year), airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

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