Indonesia-based Pelita Air Service has taken redelivery of its first freighter-converted ATR 72-500F (746, ex-Veling) and begun operating it in charter service for Angkasa Pura Logistics (APLOG), a subsidiary of the state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura Airports [FAT 005451].
Unit 746, completed in mid-May, was ferried from the Indopelita Aircraft Services facility at Pondok Cabe Air Base (PCB) back to Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP) on June 3, with APLOG branding. It is now operating to destinations such as Banjarmasin (BDJ), Surabaya (SUB), and Batam (BTH).
Pelita, a subsidiary of state-owned energy company Pertamina, told Cargo Facts that, as part of a long-term partnership agreement with APLOG signed in January, the carrier will shift its strategy away from providing passenger services to cargo operations instead, and adding freighter aircraft to support the growth of the local and regional airfreight market. To that end, Pelita intends to convert two more ATR freighters and may even add a 737-300F after carrying out an evaluation in the next few months.
While Pelita declined to provide further details on the freighters, we note the carrier now has an ATR 42-500 and two other ATR 72-500s in its fleet, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the two ATR 72s were converted into freighter configuration as well, especially since its first was converted at Indopelita Aircraft Services, Pelita’s MRO subsidiary.
According to Angkasa Pura Airports, the decision to diversify its business with an emphasis on air cargo was accelerated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company recently also began chartering a 737-300F from My Indo Airlines to fly twice weekly from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) to Makassar (UPG) and Balikpapan (BPN).
APLOG plans to extend its air cargo charter service beyond Indonesia’s borders to Singapore, according to a release on its website, but it is currently unclear whether that will be operated by Pelita or My Indo Airlines.
AKKA Technologies, which carried out the conversion of unit 746 at the Indopelita facility, previously told Cargo Facts it expected to redeliver the aircraft in April but admitted the timeline would be challenging as it had never before carried out an ATR conversion in Indonesia.