U.S.-based Amerijet, currently an all-767F operator, will start piloting A321-200P2F operations as early as this month with a wet-leased aircraft from U.K.-based Titan Airways.
The freighter is being brought in to cover some of Amerijet’s routes while its own aircraft undergo maintenance, but also to test how the new type could fit into its network.
“It’s a proof of concept so we know what the plane looks like, operates like, and whether it fits into our system without having to make a full investment in a long-term lease,” CEO Tim Strauss told Cargo Facts.
On Jan. 14, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued six-month approval for Titan Airways’ application to operate the aircraft on an ACMI basis for Amerijet, according to a regulatory filing. Points to be served include the United States, Caribbean, and Central and South America. The exemption will allow Titan to operate Amerijet’s foreign air services until July 25.
Titan’s only A321-200P2F (1238, ex-Thomas Cook) departed London Stansted (STN) Feb. 11, making its way to Miami (MIA) via Reykjavik (KEF) and Halifax (YHZ). The aircraft could enter service in the Americas as soon as next week, according to Amerijet.
Amerijet plans to use the narrowbody aircraft on some of its scheduled routes that see north-south imbalance. While exports put southbound routes out of Amerijet’s Miami (MIA) hub nearly at capacity with a 767 freighter, some of the northbound return flights to the U.S. are lighter. “We’ll get some ability to play because we really have a one-size fits all approach right now,” Strauss said. Amerijet’s active fleet consists of seven 767-300BDSFs and one 767-200BDSF. In the past, Amerijet has also operated 727 freighters.
“It makes sense on a couple of different levels and we’re very excited to see the airplane, on both a physical and commercial level,” said Strauss.
Titan Airways is the second operator of EFW’s A321-200P2F and added the aircraft to its AOC last month, on lease from BBAM. Redelivery had been expected ahead of peak season 2020 flying, but was ultimately delayed. After the freighter was delivered, it was utilized for short flights within the United Kingdom and between STN and Belfast (BFS) on behalf of the Royal Mail and for ad-hoc charters to other destinations in Europe. Air cargo charter booking platform CharterSync told Cargo Facts it was the first company to book an ad-hoc charter utilizing the A321-200P2F in January, before the freighter entered service on a longer contract.
Titan is expecting a second A321P2F (1250, ex-Thomas Cook) from BBAM. The aircraft was expected in January but remains at the ST Engineering facility in Singapore (XSP).
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