Qantas Freight (XME, Sydney Kingsford Smith) has commenced long-term wet-leasing of a B747-8(F) from Atlas Air (5Y, New York JFK), replacing a B747-400(F), the Australian airline said in a press release.

N856GT (msn 37561), the first of two B747-8(F)s to be operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Qantas Freight, was delivered from New York JFK via Chicago O'Hare and Honolulu to Sydney Kingsford Smith on August 25-26, 2019, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. The freighter subsequently started operating the next day.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the unit is a 7.9-year-old aircraft owned by Atlas Air.

Atlas Air will also wet-lease N854GT (msn 37566) to Qantas Freight. The aircraft will be delivered to Australia in the coming days.

The two freighters will operate between Australia, China, and the USA with additional routes currently being explored, Qantas said.

"These aircraft have a far better environmental footprint, producing less carbon emissions and offering greater efficiency, something that we know is really important to our customers," Executive Manager Paul Jones said.

The two B747-8(F)s will replace two B747-400(F)s which Atlas Air was wet-leasing to Qantas Freight. The first of the two, N418MC (msn 32840), ended operations for Qantas on August 25 and was subsequently redeployed on Atlas Air's own network.

Qantas Freight does not have any in-house aircraft. Besides the Boeing quadjet freighters from Atlas Air, it also wet-leases four B737-300(F), one B737-400(F), and one B767-300(F) from fellow Qantas subsidiary Express Freighters Australia (QE, Sydney Kingsford Smith), four BAe 146-300(QT)s from JetEx (JTE, Adelaide), and one B757-200(F) from Pacific Air Express (Australia) (PE, Brisbane Int'l).

In turn, Atlas Air operates ten B747-8(F)s, of which six are wet-leased to its subsidiary Polar Air Cargo (PO, New York JFK). The airline's fleet also includes five B747-400s, forty-two B747-400(F)s, one B767-200, fourteen B767-200(F)s, five B767-300(ER)s, and twenty-six B767-300(F)s.