In late December last year, Brazil-based airline Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras issued a joint press release with Correios (the country’s postal service), announcing their plan to form “an integrated logistics solutions company,” with operations to begin in the first half of 2018.
At that point, the plan was in the form of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, and, with much of the world more involved with Christmas holiday activities than with work, the announcement gained little notice.
But three months later, with the publication of Azul’s 2017 annual report, it is time to pay attention.
Azul has a large passenger fleet, including seven A330-200s, and has seen significant growth in its cargo business. Cargo revenue was up close to 60% in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 50% for the full year, and not only is Azul still expecting the joint venture to be underway soon, it is also planning to add freighters.
Here is what the company had to say about the jv: “In December, Azul signed an MoU with Correios, Brazil’s postal service, for the creation of a private integrated logistics company. Azul will own 50.01% of the new company after the agreement is approved by Brazilian authorities.”
And about the freighters: “as a result of the significant growth of its cargo business, Azul intends to lease two used 737-400 freighter aircraft with deliveries expected for the second half of the year.”
Where will these freighters come from? According to a recent report in ch-aviation, the two will be units 28198 and 28053. The first is an ex-Miami Air International aircraft acquired by Vx Capital Partners in August 2017 and converted to freighter configuration by PEMCO World Air Services. Once redelivered, Azul has been quoted as saying it will operate between Sao Paulo (VCP) and Manaus (MAO). The second, also ex-Miami Air, was acquired by Vx in early March 2018, and is believed to be in conversion now.
Interested in learning more about the narrowbody freighter conversion market? Then join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2018, where we will devote an entire session to just that subject.
Cargo Facts Asia will be held 23-25 April, at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong in Shanghai. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactsasia.com