US-based Kalitta Air’s first 777F (35607, ex-Emirates) will begin flying routes for DHL Express on an ACMI basis next month, the carrier confirmed to Cargo Facts. The aircraft was delivered last month, on lease from DAE Capital [FAT 004938].
Earlier this week, photos of the aircraft in Kalitta Air livery with a DHL tail surfaced on Twitter:
— Nick Hoffmann (@n194at) July 27, 2019
Kalitta said that it is still in the process of obtaining ETOPS approval, and that the aircraft began operating test flights last week between Willow Run (YIP) and Oscoda (OSC) ahead of its entry into service in August.
While we previously noted that, by acquiring its first 777F, Kalitta was likely interested in adding the platform to the CMI services it can provide to DHL, it is also not surprising that the carrier has an ACMI agreement with the express integrator for the new aircraft. Kalitta already operates a number of 747-400BCFs and 767-300BDSFs for DHL. Whether the 777F will be used to replace one of the older 747s remains to be seen but, in any case, we would expect Kalitta to be keen on a potential mixture of both CMI and ACMI flying for DHL.
Kalitta added that it would look at continued fleet growth as opportunities arise, be it with 747s, 767s or 777s. Apart from unit 35607, the airline’s current fleet stands at twenty-five 747s and eight 767s.
DHL, which ordered fourteen 777Fs in July 2018 plus options for up to seven more [FATs 004505–4525], received the first one (66079) in May 2019 and the second one (66080) last month. Both are being operated on a CMI basis by Atlas Air subsidiary Southern Air, which also flies six other 777Fs for DHL on an ACMI basis.