DHL Express will soon expand its 737NG operations and have a 737-800BCF flown on its behalf in the Asia-Pacific region from March 2021.
DHL told Cargo Facts the aircraft will be operated on an ACMI basis by Thailand-based K-Mile Air on a triangular routing between Bangkok (BKK), Hanoi (HAN) and Hong Kong (HKG).
While DHL could not identify the aircraft at this point, we note that K-Mile is owned by ASL Aviation Holdings, which has begun sending its own 737-800s for conversion by Boeing in China.
Three aircraft are currently at the Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd. (STAECO) facility in Jinan (TNA): units 33641 (ex-Pegasus), 33596 (ex-Ryanair) and 34178 (ex-Ryanair), which arrived in mid-July, early October and November, respectively. Given the anticipated March 2021 start, Cargo Facts believes one of these aircraft could be the one K-Mile will operate for DHL.
For now, K-Mile flies three 737-400Fs on an ACMI basis for DHL, serving cities including BKK, HAN, HKG, Phnom Penh (PNH), Singapore (SIN), Jakarta (CGK), Vientiane (VTE) and Yangon (RGN). All three units (28492, 29000 and 29209) were transferred from the ASL group’s European fleet.
DHL said it is actively evaluating more 737-800Fs for its Asia-Pacific network. The company took delivery of its first two 737-800BDSFs (30498 and 28619) — the first two converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) — earlier this year and placed them with iAero Airways for CMI operation in the U.S. in May. DHL does not yet have any other 737-800Fs, either in CMI or ACMI service.
DHL will also add another converted A330-300F to its Asian operations in February; the integrator, which currently has two A330-300s (1124 and 1107, ex-Hong Kong Airlines) undergoing conversion by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Dresden (DRS), confirmed to Cargo Facts that the addition will be unit 1124, which arrived at DRS in March.
Unit 1124, the sixth A330-300 conversion for DHL and EFW, will likely be operated by Air Hong Kong, currently flying two A330-300Fs (777 and 781) and an A330-200F (1414) for DHL. Three older A330-300Fs (116, 127 and 231), all powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000-100 engines, had also been deployed in Asia by DHL, but have now been transferred to Europe to be operated by ASL Airlines Ireland.