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Australia Post gears up for Christmas with Hercules aircraft

Australia Post's new freight aircraft, named Hercules.
Australia Post's new freight aircraft, named Hercules.

The holiday season is approaching fast and Australia Post says it is ready for the surge in Christmas peak orders. A new addition to its freighter fleet, an A330-200P2F aircraft, has significantly bolstered its delivery network. 

The aircraft, christened Hercules, was transformed from a passenger aircraft to a freighter in September. It offers increased capacity and flexibility during the festive season rush. 

Australia Post’s green leap

The aircraft will be operated in conjunction with Qantas Freight and is estimated to double the volume of Australia Post’s largest freighter. It provides 130 tons of capacity each night and will service routes between the east coast and Perth. 

Australia Post says the Hercules aircraft will also handle StarTrack and Express Post parcels. Apart from ramping up peak capacity by 29%, the new freight addition is seen as a step towards greener operations. 

By replacing the soon-to-be-retired B737F aircraft, Hercules is set to reduce aircraft emissions. It’s praised for producing 42% less carbon emissions per kilogram of cargo compared to its predecessor. This means it requires less fuel for each parcel carried. 

ALSO READ: Australia Post opens new facility in Victoria

Strategic partnership

The inclusion of the new freighter is largely due to the longstanding partnership with Qantas Freight. Australia Post CEO Paul Graham says Hercules also meets the growing customer demand during the busiest time of the year. 

Apart from amplifying capacity, the freighter simplifies and streamlines delivery services. According to Graham, this aligns with both companies’ commitment to a more sustainable future while still meeting client expectations. 

Graham explains: “The additional capacity of this aircraft allows us to reduce the number of aircraft we have in the air by operating on our largest volume sectors, in turn reducing our carbon footprint and supporting fast and reliable deliveries for our customers.”

Qantas fleet overhaul

Hercules underwent its transformation from a passenger aircraft to a freighter in Dresden, Germany. It then journeyed to Cairns on September 8, stopping in South Korea and Singapore.

Hercules is part of the major overhaul of Qantas Freight’s fleet, which includes nine new A321 P2Fs, taking its final fleet to 12. Qantas also plans to receive one more A330 P2F. Qantas said back in August 2022 it will be adding six converted Airbus freighters to its domestic fleet as well. 

ALSO READ: OPINION: Australia Post’s next-day delivery a decade too late

These freighters will be sourced from the open market between early 2024 and mid-2026. The move was described as the company’s “largest aircraft order” in its 2022 Annual Report, which states: “Airbus A321XLR and A220 aircraft will drive the renewal of the Group’s domestic fleet over the next decade and open up new direct routes across Australia, including in regional areas.”

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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