Kenya-based all-cargo carrier Astral Aviation will expand its freighter fleet and also move into the passenger business.
Astral will sell a stake to China-based Hainan Airlines, and, under a recently signed MOU with Hainan, will develop a plan to launch regional passenger service from Nairobi using a planned fleet of five ERJ-145s.
On the cargo side, the carrier operates two DC-9-30Fs and has ordered an MD-82 P-to-F conversion from Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. In addition, in partnership with UK-based ANA Aviation Services, Astral ACMI-leases a 747-400F from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and operates it out of Ostend (OST) along with two MD-11Fs ACMI-leased from Nordic Global Airlines.
The pair plans to move Astral’s European hub to Liege (LGG) at the end of this month, and add a second 747 freighter to the Liege-based operation in September.