Wholly owned Cathay Pacific subsidiary Air Hong Kong (AHK) will soon be operating at least two A330 freighters under its own AOC, the carrier told Cargo Facts. While the carrier currently operates ten A300-600Fs, it had previously contracted ASL Airlines Ireland to operate a small fleet of A330Fs on an ACMI basis.
The first aircraft, an A330-300P2F (116, ex-Malaysia Airlines), was the very first A330 to be converted by EFW, the joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering Aerospace. It was redelivered to DHL in December 2017 and entered service in early 2018, operated by ASL for AHK. This aircraft was ferried from Hong Kong (HKG) to Paya Lebar (QPG) in Singapore at the end of May 2019. AHK confirmed to Cargo Facts that unit 116 is undergoing modifications “ahead of its introduction to the AHK fleet” and will be the first A330F under the carrier’s own AOC when it reenters service in August 2019.
ASL currently operates two A330Fs for AHK – another A330-300P2F (127, ex-Hi Fly) and an A330-200F (1414, ex-EAT Leipzig). AHK said that unit 1414 will also be moved onto its own AOC “early next year” but didn’t say whether that would be the case for unit 127.
Additionally, another A330-300 (231, ex-Thai Airways) is nearing the completion of its conversion into freighter configuration by EFW in Dresden (DRS), while the fourth of eight converted A330-300Fs for DHL Express arrived at EFW’s facility in DRS for conversion last week. It is unclear whether these aircraft will join the AHK operation.
In any case, DHL Express said in March 2018 that it planned to deploy “at least” four A330-300P2Fs on its intra-Asian network with AHK. Whether or not that has changed remains to be seen, but Cargo Facts wouldn’t be surprised to see AHK shifting unit 127, along with any other A330Fs intended for the region by DHL, to its own AOC in due course.
AHK was a joint venture between DHL Express and Cathay Pacific until 1 January 2019, when DHL sold its 40% stake to Cathay. As part of that deal, DHL signed a fifteen-year block space agreement with AHK and purchased eight A300-600Fs, leasing them back to AHK.