Qantas drops plans to lease 747 freighter

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Qantas Freight has cancelled plans to lease a Boeing 747-400ER Freighter to replace an aircraft wet-leased from US cargo specialist Atlas Air.

A spokesman for Qantas tells Flightglobal Pro that the airline chose not to proceed with the lease of the near-new aircraft due to the continued softness in the international airfreight market.

"This change does not impact Qantas Freight's current services and our existing international freighter schedule remains in place," he adds.

Qantas Freight wet-leases three 747-400Fs from Atlas which are used to operate services between Australia, China and the USA. It has hubs in Shanghai and Chongqing, and in April said that it had a 5% share of the air cargo market between China and the US.

It also has four 737-300CFs and one 767-300ERF that are utilised on domestic and trans-Tasman services respectively. Those aircraft are flown by subsidiary Express Freighters Australia, which was to have operated the 747 in question.

"The air freight industry is cyclical and Qantas Freight will re-examine fleet options when the market has strengthened," the company says.