DHL Express has launched its first passenger-to-freighter Airbus A330-300 in Malaysia at its Penang Gateway.

The company is also hoping to deploy at least three more A330-300s as regional and global e-commerce volumes grow.

Malaysia will be the first country in the world to operate the first of four A330-300s that will join the DHL Express fleet under a new passenger-to-freighter (P2F) deal with Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between Airbus and Singapore Technologies Aerospace.

“Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions driven by e-commerce trade,” said DHL Express Managing Director for Malaysia & Brunei Christopher Ong.

He said that with the launch, DHL is ready to service increasing e-commerce volumes from Malaysia which is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9% from now to 2022.

The converted A330-300 P2F features a range of updates including reinforcements to its fuselage, floor structure, door frame shell, newly-installed safety barrier nets and a powered cargo loading system.

It will provide additional high-volume, low-density capacity in Malaysia with a gross payload of 61 metric tons.

The service will import and export goods six times weekly from Penang to Hong Kong and will also be servicing the Vietnam and Hong Kong markets.

With 33% more freight capacity per flight, DHL Express aims to strengthen their delivery capabilities across its network, while enhancing its capacity to deliver more shipments than ever before.

“Being the only logistics company in world to own and operate the A330-300 P2F aircraft, DHL will be able to enhance service standards and match e-commerce merchants’ and buyers’ demands,” said Christopher.