Miami-based all-cargo carrier Centurion Cargo confirmed to Cargo Facts that it plans to retire the nine MD-11 freighters in its own fleet and the fleet of sister carrier SkyLease Cargo over the next two to three years, replacing them with a smaller number of 747-400 freighters.
At present, Centurion and SkyLease operate a total of two 747-400 freighters (one -400F and one -400ERF) and nine MD-11Fs. The first of the new freighters is a 747-400ERF (33096) formerly leased from ILFC by Air France and now in the process of being re-registered to Centurion/SkyLease. It will enter service shortly, and a second 747-400ERF (believed to be one of the two currently in the Air France fleet) will follow in September. Centurion has not indicated the retirement schedule for the MD-11Fs, but it is likely that two or three will be retired this year.
Centurion did not provide the timing and source of future 747-400 additions, but Cargo Facts believes they will be units currently in the fleet of Air France-KLM, which is in the process of severely cutting back freighter operation, and possibly exiting the freighter business completely. AF-KLM currently operates five 747-400ERFs (two at Air France, three operated for KLM by subsidiary carrier Martinair), two 777Fs (at Air France), and six MD-11Fs (all at Martinair).
From its Miami hub, Centurion/SkyLease currently serves fifteen destinations in Latin America as well as Los Angeles in the US, and Amsterdam in Europe.