The Thanksgiving holiday is about to start in the US, so here’s a bit of holiday fun: identify the somewhat blurry airplane in the photo at the bottom of this post, and you can win coffee and a donut the next time you visit Cargo Facts World Headquarters in Seattle (which just happens to be almost next door to the best coffee & donut shop in the city).
Here we go…
How many times have you heard the announcement that some small passenger airline was planning to enter the cargo business — and not just by offering to carry a few packages in the bellies of its narrowbody pax aircraft, but by jumping straight into freighter operation?
Usually, this announcement is followed by prolonged silence, and the “freighter operation” never even gets to the acquisition stage.
This month, it was Vietnam-based low-cost carrier Vietjet Air that launched a cargo subsidiary (under the name Vietjet Cargo), and announced plans to acquire freighters. But unlike many carriers that have tried and failed, Vietjet just might have a chance, because airfreight demand in Vietnam is soaring.
Vietjet, which began operations in 2011, currently operates seventeen A320 passenger aircraft, and plans to increase its fleet to thirty by the end of 2015 and forty by the end of 2016. Initially, Vietjet Cargo will manage the belly capacity of its parent, but the cargo arm’s CEO Do Xuan Quang said Vietjet planned to add freighters as early as next year. In an interview in The Loadstar, Mr. Quang said: “We will be expanding our global network, and planning to operate feeder freighters with B737-300/400Fs, as well as mid-range [???? this is the mystery part ????] in the Asia region.”
He added that the freighters would be ACMI-leased in the first year, dry-leased in the second year, and that “after that, Vietjet Air will purchase new aircraft for its sustainable development in the future.”
The photo below, taken at the launch ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City, and shown on the Vietjet website, shows the sales director of a well-known aircraft manufacturer presenting a model to Mr. Quang. It’s not the crispest photo in the world, but with coffee and a donut on the line, we’re sure you’ll want to identify the plane.