More freighters for CAM as ANA reduces 767F fleet Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), Air Transport Services Group’s (ATSG) leasing subsidiary, has acquired three 767 freighters from Japanese carrier ANA Cargo [FAT 005097-005099]. While ATSG mentioned during its 2Q earnings call earlier this month that it had acquired three 767s from ANA without specifying the variant, ANA Cargo has now confirmed to Cargo Facts that the three frames are all -300BCFs (25136, 24400 and 24632).
Unit 25136 was ferried from Tokyo (HND) to Wilmington (ILN) via Anchorage (ANC) last week. This aircraft was delivered to ANA in passenger configuration in July 1991 and redelivered in July 2009 after freighter conversion. Units 24400 and 24632 were delivered to ANA in passenger configuration in June and October 1989 respectively. Both were converted into freighters and redelivered in 1989. These three 767s are all around the thirty-year-old mark and are the oldest in ANA Cargo’s fleet. The carrier told Cargo Facts that it made the decision not to keep them more than a year ago to reduce maintenance costs and because it was expecting the arrival of its two 777Fs, which would more than make up for the lost capacity of three 767Fs.
ANA Cargo added its first 777F in May this year and the second in June, and has been flying them on a Tokyo (NRT) – Osaka (KIX) – Shanghai (PVG) – NRT routing five times per week. From Aug. 26, they will be deployed non-stop between NRT and PVG six times a week. ANA is expecting to begin flying the 777F on the carrier’s first own-operated trans-Pacific freighter route to Chicago (ORD) starting this October.
Returning to the 767-300BCFs, it is currently unclear with which customer these three aircraft will eventually be placed, and when that will happen. We note that they appear older than the airframes CAM is slated to lease to UPS, which CAM announced as a new dry-lease customer earlier this year. They could be making their way into Amazon’s fleet, which is operated by an ATSG affiliate carrier on Amazon’s behalf. The e-tailer agreed with CAM at the end of last year to lease ten additional 767-300Fs, with six joining by the end of 2019.
Or could ATSG have been referring to these three ANA 767Fs when it hinted at possible growth with customers in the Far East? In any case, these will be the first 767-300BCFs for CAM, which until now had only had -300BDSFs in its portfolio.
Excluding the three 767Fs going to CAM, ANA Cargo’s fleet consists of five 767-300BCFs and four production 767-300Fs, with the next-oldest -300BCF being unit 25616 at just over twenty-seven years old.
Flexport unveils livery for dedicated 747F .
A 747-400F (36135) has just been painted in Flexport’s colors and will be entering service for the forwarder’s own-controlled airfreight operation on Aug. 25, flying from Chicago (ORD) to Hong Kong (HKG), Flexport confirmed to Cargo Facts [FAT 005103]. For more on the story, check out our website.
21 Air nabs Aeromexico ACMI contract from ABX Air Beginning this fall, US-based cargo specialist carrier 21 Air will begin providing lift for Aeroméxico Cargo on an ACMI basis using its fleet of 767-200BDSFs. Based on the planned routes, 21 Air appears to be taking over flying that is currently handled by ATSG-affiliate ABX Air.
At present, ABX Air operates a 767-200BDSF (22785) in a network that centers around AeroMexico’s hub in Mexico City (MEX). In the past week, the airframe has been utilized for flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Guadalajara (GDL), San Jose (SJO), Guatemala City (GUA) and Huatulco (HUX), according to flight-tracking databases. According to 21 Air, it will be operating a network that parallels ABX’s current operation for Aeroméxico with flights to GUA, LAX and Central America. ABX Air declined to comment and AeroMexico Cargo could not be reached for confirmation.
Earlier this month, 21 Air announced it would begin operating for a new customer on routes between Mexico and the United States shortly after its aircraft come out of maintenance. At present, both units (23801 and 23803) are in Georgia undergoing C Checks. 21 Air told Cargo Facts the aircraft are due to return from maintenance on 15 September and 30 September, respectively. The carrier has not specified if a particular aircraft will be designated to the project, adding that the agreement is based on block hours, adding that either or both of the 767-200BDSFs in its fleet will be utilized as needed. As for future fleet plans, 21 Air says it is currently in the process of adding freighter-converted 767-300Fs. For now, no particular airframes have been identified, but the first -300F is expected to arrive in 4Q this year.
Returning to ATSG, demand for 767Fs remains robust, and Cargo Facts expects the company to face little difficulty placing the aircraft and crews with another customer. CAM, ATSG’s leasing affiliate, has already committed to lease at least three more 767-300BDSFs to Amazon by year-end 2019. These aircraft will then be operated by an affiliate carrier, either ABX Air or Air Transport International.
As airports and carriers begin to report their July 2019 cargo traffic results, airfreight demand – unsurprisingly – continues to respond negatively to increasing trade friction on the trans-Pacific trade lane and elsewhere. Carriers from all regions almost unanimously reported moderate year-over-year declines. There is little change from June 2019, for which IATA reported a year-over-year decline of 3.4%. When IATA releases its July traffic report later this month, Cargo Facts expects total market declines of 3-4%. For a carrier-by-carrier look at July traffic, see our website here.
Suparna to be sold? Wuhan-based Uni-Top Airlines acquired one of three 747-400BDSFs (25207) previously in HNA-affiliate Suparna Airlines’ fleet [FAT 005100]. The aircraft transfer surfaced in a recent application for a Foreign Air Carrier Permit filed with the US Department of Transportation. Although this transaction could be a one-off deal, recent reports suggest that Shanghai-based Suparna’s heavily indebted parent organization may be in the process of selling the carrier to the Jiangsu Provincial Government.
Jiangsu’s primary interest in Suparna stems from the potential to leapfrog the process of establishing a new carrier at the province’s capital airport, Nanjing. Although Suparna traces its roots back to an all-cargo operation, Yangtze River Express, since rebranding as “Suparna” in 2017, the carrier’s growth has centered around its passenger operation. This year Suparna added two 787-9s to complement the ten 737-800s in already operates in domestic passenger service. For now, Suparna’s freighter fleet is larger – but that may not last. Were Jiangsu to acquire the carrier, it's unclear if the deal would include the airline’s freighter assets.
Looking now at Suparna’s freighter fleet, apart from the 747-400BDSF now owned by Uni-Top, until recently, it comprised of a 747-400ERF and two other 747-400BDSFs. The second BDSF (28282) appears to be in maintenance, while the third (28283) is still active. Suparna’s 747-400ERF (35235), does not appear to have flown since July 1, and also appears to be in maintenance. The carrier’s narrowbody fleet comprises of even 737 Classics, ten 737-300Fs and one 737-400F, though it is unclear if all are currently flying.
Uni-Top, meanwhile, plans to continue expanding its freighter fleet. At present, the carrier has an active fleet of six A300-600Fs and a 747-400BDSF which is supplemented with ACMI-leased capacity. Recent development plans have called for the introduction of six additional aircraft per year from 2021-2023 to grow its fleet to at least 34 units by 2023, though no further fleet plans have been revealed.