More 747 freighters will soon be flying again, relieving the capacity constraints brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. Moldova-based Aerotranscargo has added to its portfolio a 747-400BCF (24459, ex-Thai Cargo) which it expects to become available from May 5 [FAT 005396].
Aerotranscargo told Cargo Facts that the aircraft is dry-leased to Moldova-based Terra Avia to operate. The carrier flies a 747-400 for Hajj services on behalf of Saudi-Arabia-based flynas. All sales and marketing activity will be handled by Aerotranscargo, which told Cargo Facts it also recently acquired unit 24458, the other 747-400BCF previously in service with Thai Cargo. This aircraft will also be operated by Terra Avia under a similar arrangement later this year.
Units 24458 and 24459 were the two oldest 747-400s in Thai’s passenger fleet, having been delivered in 1990. They were converted into freighter configuration in 2012, but withdrawn in 2015. While both were previously parked at U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport (UTP), unit 24459 was ferried to Jakarta (CGK) in September 2019 for maintenance at the GMF AeroAsia facility.
With the addition of these two aircraft, Aerotranscargo grows its all-747F fleet to six units. The other four, consisting of a production 747-400F (26558, ex-Singapore Airlines Cargo) and three 747-400BDSFs (24312, ex-Air Cargo Germany; 26562, ex-Southern Air; and 27071, ex-Centurion Air Cargo), are all owned and operated by Aerotranscargo itself.
The carrier said unit 27071, which has been at CGK since March, will come out of maintenance at the end of May and be added to the charter program it is currently operating.
An increasing number of freighters are being reactivated. Atlas Air has now brought three of four parked 747Fs back into service; Southern Air very recently began flying a stored 777F for DHL; and FedEx has also brought an A300-600F and an MD-11F out of storage in Victorville (VCV). Meanwhile, CargoLogicAir recently resumed operations with its two 747-400Fs.