Found: a new home for a stored China Airlines 747-400F? On 5 August, a China Airlines 747-400F (30762) was removed from long-term storage at Victorville (VCV), where it had been parked since February 2012, and was ferried to the carrier’s hub in Taipei (TPE). Cargo Facts believes that the aircraft will likely be leased to a third party following heavy maintenance.
Last year, AMS Aircraft Services Limited and EastMerchant Capital were appointed by the Taiwanese carrier to remarket the aircraft, and the pair appears to have been successful in its endeavor to do so. The identity of the customer, however, remains under wraps for now. China Airlines confirmed to Cargo Facts that it is not planning to sell this aircraft in the near future, but added it was also unable to disclose any further information at this stage other than that unit 30762 would be undergoing heavy maintenance in TPE.
In the meantime, China Airlines continues to operate a fleet of eighteen active 747-400Fs, and has previously said that it intends to keep its freighter fleet unchanged at eighteen units, meaning that when the three 777Fs the airline ordered earlier this year begin arriving in the second half of next year, three 747-400Fs will be withdrawn from service on a one-for-one basis.
The air arm of China Post expects to become the first 737-800BCF operator in China, though we note it was not actually the first Chinese carrier to take redelivery of a -800BCF. That honor went to Tianjin Air Cargo, which earlier this year took redelivery of a Boeing-converted 737-800BCF (32602, ex-Hainan Airlines), but does not appear to have begun operating it.
For China Postal Airlines, this is the first of ten 737-800BCF conversions the carrier is committed to as part of a 2015 agreement with Boeing. In a statement, the carrier said the longer range and greater capacity of the aircraft, compared to its 737-300Fs and -400Fs, will enable it to open new routes from its Nanjing (NKG) hub. Although there was no mention of how soon additional redeliveries may take place, in recent months, the carrier has begun to retire older freighters in its fleet. One 737-300F on lease from GECAS (25172) has already been placed with a new operator, Mongolian Airways Cargo. These changes to China Postal Airlines’ fleet come after a period of stability for the carrier’s 737 fleet. All additions since 2015 have been 757-200Fs. The carrier last took delivery of a freighter-converted 737-300F (28158) from PEMCO in 2015 [FAT 001352].
Returning to China Postal Airlines’ 737-800BCF, like the majority of Boeing-converted 737-800Fs redelivered so far, touch labor for the aircraft was performed at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA). Unit 30786 is the eighth 737-800BCF to be completed by STAECO.
Canada-based specialist ACMI carrier Cargojet no longer expects to add a thirteenth 767-300F to its freighter fleet by year-end 2019. Plans to convert two 767-200s Cargojet purchased in August 2018 to freighter configuration, however, remain in place.
In an April earnings release, the carrier had outlined plans to acquire an additional freighter-converted 767-300 in 2019, “to accommodate the additional ACMI route between [the] US and Mexico that started in 2018.” In anticipation of the acquisition, Cargojet forecasted it would grow its 767-300F fleet from twelve at the time, to thirteen units by 4Q19. No longer is that the case. Plans for a thirteenth 763F were absent from a release accompanying the carrier’s 2Q earnings. As it stands at the end of 2Q, the Canadian carrier is not expecting any changes to its 767-300F fleet between now and 4Q21, though this could change.
Cargojet does plan to add two 767-200BDSFs over the next year and is in the process of converting two ex-UTair 767-200s (30430 and 30431) it acquired last year [FATs 005082-5085]. Both airframes are now stored at IAI Aerospace’s Tel Aviv MRO, awaiting induction for conversion to freighter configuration. At present, Cargojet operates a single 767-200BDSF (22319) leased from CAM under an agreement that expires in February 2020. Cargojet’s newly purchased aircraft will be redelivered in 4Q19 and 2Q20, respectively.
Separate from the conversion plan, Cargojet also completed the purchase of a 767-200BDSF (23801), currently on lease to Greensboro-based 21 Air [FAT 005086]. The aircraft is leased to Bank of Utah and sub-leased to 21 Air for at least two more years, according to 21 Air. Cargojet, for its part, has no near-term plans to incorporate the airframe into its own fleet.
Transcarga’s A300B4 freighter idled with stoppage of US-Venezuela ops On 1 August, the US Department of Transportation denied Venezuelan carrier Transcarga’s request for an exemption to engage in charter cargo transportation between the United States and Venezuela. The DOT cited the Department of Homeland Security’s concerns over security in Venezuela as the reason for the denial. As reported by our sister publication, Air Cargo World, Transcarga requested an exemption from the DOT to engage in charter cargo operations on 5 June, stating in that filing it planned to use its leased A300B4 freighters to operate between Venezuela and the US via intermediate points.
For now, Transcarga continues to operate one of two leased A300B4 freighters in its fleet. The aircraft (261) operates in regional service on routes between its main hub in Caracas (CCS) and other destinations in Colombia and Venezuela such as Bogota (BOG), Puerto Cabello (PBL) and Valencia (VLN). Transcarga’s second freighter (274), meanwhile, has been idled since mid-May, when flights between Venezuela and the U.S. ceased.
The DOT initially suspended cargo service between the US and Venezuela on 14 May, after receiving a letter from DHS that determined “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew traveling to or from that country, and that the public interest requires an immediate suspension of all commercial passenger and cargo flights” between the countries. Although Transcarga proposed additional screening via intermediate points between the US and Venezuela, DOT said the concerns expressed by DHS “make clear that the conditions in Venezuela that led to the service suspension go well beyond that sole issue.” In its denial, DOT confirmed that it would not allow petitions for reconsideration of its decision.
Recent freighter aircraft transactions: Lufthansa Cargo parked an MD-11F (48785) [FAT 005089]. The aircraft was ferried from Frankfurt (FRA) to Victorville (VCV) for storage. This was the first of two MD-11Fs Lufthansa Cargo plans to withdraw from service this year. The remaining ten will be retired by 2025, but could be removed from service as soon as year-end 2020.