Japan Airlines and logistics firm Yamato Holdings have taken delivery of their first Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter (A321P2F) aircraft, with domestic cargo operations set to launch April 2024.

The aircraft (JA81YA, MSN4173) arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport on 6 November, and was formally unveiled on 20 November. It is the first of three A321P2Fs that the Japanese companies will operate.

Yamato Freighter

Source: Yamato Holdings

Yamato and JAL have taken delivery of their first A321 converted freighter.

According to Cirium fleets data, the converted freighter operated with Qatar Airways from 2010 until 2022, when it was placed in storage.

Conversion works were carried out in Singapore by ST Engineering, under the management of the MRO firm’s EFW joint venture with Airbus.

The first domestic cargo flights will take off next year, says Yamato, with flights operated by JAL low-cost unit Spring Japan. The company also lists points such as Kitakyushu, Naha, as well as New Chitose among the initial destinations to be served.

JAL and Yamato first announced the cargo partnership in January 2022, marking the logistic firm’s first foray into air cargo operations.

At the time, Yamato said it entered into the partnership because of impending legislative changes which limit the amount of overtime work logistics drivers can perform. JAL, meanwhile, said it was looking to “secure [cargo] transportation capacity” as it shrinks its fleet size while increasing domestic operations.