DHL Express expects to boost capacity and cut operating costs as the first of a new generation freighters takes to the skies.
The parcel carrier has taken delivery of the the first-ever A330-300 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) aircraft from the ST Aerospace-Airbus joint venture, Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), at its Dresden base following completion of test flights in October and award of supplemental type certification in November.
DHL Express has firm orders for eight A330-300P2Fs, plus options for another ten.
The aircraft type P2F conversion programme has two variants: the A330-200P2F and a larger A330-300P2F.
DHL says that the latter is ideal for the international express business to business (B2B) and e-commerce cargo markets, which typically have a higher volume and lower density.
The aircraft can carry up to 62 tonnes and has a range of over 3,650 nautical miles, while offering 20% more cargo volume and lower cost-per-tonne than other freighter aircraft with a similar range.
DHL Express senior vice-president for global air fleet management, Geoff Kehr, commented: “The first aircraft is scheduled to strengthen our Asia Pacific air network, bringing added capacity and increased efficiency to a market where we are seeing dynamic express volume growth.“