Air Hong Kong transfers first A330F to own AOC

DHL Express has placed all three A330-300 conversions so far with Air Hong Kong. (Photo: DHL Express)

Air Hong Kong (AHK) has completed the transfer of an A330-300P2F to its own AOC. The aircraft (116, ex-Malaysia Airlines) is the first A330 freighter to be added to the wholly owned Cathay Pacific subsidiary’s AOC, and was previously operated by ASL Airlines Ireland.

While AHK couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, the carrier previously told Cargo Facts that it was planning to introduce unit 116 under its own AOC in August 2019, after the aircraft went to Paya Lebar (QPG) in Singapore at the end of May 2019 for maintenance and modifications. Cargo Facts believes that the reason for the delay was that the aircraft was sitting at the ST Engineering Aerospace facility awaiting its Pratt & Whitney engines. Unit 116 didn’t fly again until December 2019, when it carried out a short test flight and was ferried back to Hong Kong (HKG) just before Christmas. The A330 made another test flight around HKG on Jan. 7 under its new Hong Kong registration and is likely to re-enter service shortly.

AHK previously said that unit 1414, one of five production A330-200Fs DHL Express picked up from Abu-Dhabi based Etihad, would also be added to its own AOC, but it is unclear when that will occur. For now, unit 1414 is still being operated by ASL Airlines Ireland.

Apart from the A330s, AHK currently has nine A300-600Fs on its AOC, while ASL operates unit 1414 and two other A330-300Fs (units 127 and 231) for AHK. In July 2019, ASL also brought over another A300-600F (677) to make up for a shortfall in capacity at AHK. Originally expected to last only until September 2019, that aircraft is still being operated by ASL for AHK.

Unit 116 was the very first A330 to be converted by EFW, the joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering Aerospace. It was redelivered to DHL Express in December 2017 and entered service in early 2018, operated by ASL for AHK. So far, EFW has converted three A330-300s, all of which were redelivered to DHL Express, the launch and sole customer for the program. DHL is likely to place further freighter-converted A330-300s with AHK as more are redelivered. Units 777 (ex-China Eastern) and 781 (ex-Onur Air) were inducted in Dresden (DRS) in June and July 2019 respectively, and DHL still has three firm orders with options for ten more.

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