Italy-based Poste Air Cargo has added to its fleet a 737-400F (28888, ex-Flair Airlines) on lease from Automatic LLC, with another (28889, ex-Flair Airlines) to follow shortly [FATs 005797 and 005908].
The incoming freighters increase the 737 fleet operated by the Italian post office’s cargo arm to five units and completes a fleet modernization program launched in 2018 to replace 737-300QC aircraft with full-fledged 737-400Fs, Poste Air Cargo confirmed to Cargo Facts.
Following conversion to freighter configuration toward the end of 2020 by PEMCO at the Coopesa facility in San Jose (SJO), unit 28888 was ferried to Shannon (SNN) mid-December, while unit 28889 followed around a month later. Poste Air Cargo confirmed that unit 28888 arrived in Rome (FCO) today.
Both aircraft are expected to enter service this month. The freighters will be utilized primarily in Poste Italiane’s overnight network, which extends from its Brescia (VBS) hub.
Additional daytime flights may be added for “other customers,” the carrier told Cargo Facts. We note that in recent years Amazon has been a key customer for Poste Italiane. In addition to providing same-day delivery and expedited delivery services for Amazon in select Italian cities, Poste Air Cargo — previously known as Mistral Air — is believed to have flown for Amazon.
Alongside the growth to its narrowbody fleet, Poste Air Cargo has consolidated its turboprop operation. Last year, the carrier operated three ATR 72-500Fs, but recently decided to return one (548) off-lease to Nordic Aviation Capital. The two other ATR 72s (541 and 588) will continue to operate in the fleet.
Poste Air Cargo expects its fleet to remain stable through the remainder of the year and will instead focus on optimizing aircraft utilization. As has been the case in recent years, the carrier plans to ACMI-lease additional freighter capacity during peak periods.
Poste Air Cargo’s preliminary figures for 2020 highlight full-year tonnage that was up by 20% YoY.