U.A.E.-based Aquiline International has purchased three passenger 747-400s previously in operation with the now-defunct Russian airline Transaero, after a three-year process of negotiation and acquisition.
The company told Cargo Facts that it plans to convert the ex-Transaero 747s into freighters, in a move that would revive 747-400P2F conversions. The company did not comment on whether it has already signed a conversion deal for the aircraft with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) — the only STC holder still converting 747s — nor when it expects the three 747s to leave storage.
Aquiline in March also acquired a parked 1991-vintage 747-400BCF (25152, ex-Cathay Pacific) and recently leased a 1991-vintage 747-400BDSF (24311, ex-Air Cargo Global) to Belarus-based Rubystar Airways.
While Aquiline did not identify all three of the 747-400s, one is unit 28029, a 2001 frame with Pratt & Whitney PW4000-94 engines and painted in a special livery promoting the conservation of tigers. Cargo Facts believes the other two could be units 28025 and 28031. All three sister ships have been parked in Teruel (TEV), Spain, since Transaero’s demise in 2015.
Aquiline said it had also acquired an ex-VIM Airlines 777-200ER.
Potential candidates to take on the newly converted 747-400s could include Bermuda-based Longtail Aviation, to which Aquiline already leases a 1991 PW4000-powered 747-400BCF (24975, ex-Rubystar); Moldova-based Aerotranscargo, which has brought four freighter-converted 747-400Fs back into service in the last twelve months and is growing with a Netherlands-based affiliate; and U.A.E.-based Global Service Solutions, which recently reactivated a 747-200F and is looking at 747-400Fs.
Aquiline previously leased another 747-400F (27503, ex-Cargolux) to Longtail; the carrier now leases that aircraft from CargoJetX, which purchased the 747 from Aquiline last year.
Two other 747-400s recently arrived at IAI’s facility in Tel Aviv (TLV): a 2000-vintage Combi (30454, ex-KLM) in January and a 1998 ex-Virgin Atlantic frame (29406) in December 2020. IAI confirmed to Cargo Facts that both aircraft are currently only undergoing maintenance and remain in their original configurations for now, but previously said that the Combi’s owner plans to eventually convert it.