The 737-800BCF (32742, ex-NewGen Airways) was sent to China to be converted in January, and was spotted by photographers in Osaka (KIX) on Aug. 1, showing “Operated by Southern Air” near the nose. The aircraft was then ferried to Jacksonville (VQQ) via Anchorage (ANC) the next day, where it will presumably undergo maintenance and conformity by Flightstar Aircraft Services, which provides MRO services for Atlas Air. Most of the Amazon 737-800Fs that joined Southern Air last year were also sent to VQQ ahead of entry into service.
Excluding unit 32742, fifteen 737-800BCFs leased from GECAS have joined Amazon’s fleet, the first five operated by Southern Air and the second batch of ten by Sun Country Airlines. The latter has ramped up the cargo operation in a relatively short amount of time in order to make up for lost passenger revenue due to the pandemic — the first aircraft (32348, ex-Pegasus) began flying for Amazon early in May and the tenth (32739, ex-NewGen Airways) entered service Aug. 4.
Current Amazon 737-800BCF fleet
|MSN||Previous Operator||Registration||Operator||Entered service|
|32611||China Southern Airlines||N5113A||Southern Air||May 2019|
|32882||China Southern Airlines||N5147A||Southern Air||May 2019|
|32884||China Southern Airlines||N5153A||Southern Air||May 2019|
|32663||Jet Airways||N5167A||Southern Air||July 2019|
|32614||Flybondi||N5179A||Southern Air||December 2019|
|32348||Pegasus||N5261A||Sun Country Airlines||May 2020|
|32601||Urumqi Air||N5683A||Sun Country Airlines||May 2020|
|32579||Jet Airways||N5209A||Sun Country Airlines||May 2020|
|29947||Hainan Airlines||N5693A||Sun Country Airlines||June 2020|
|32577||Nok Air||N7907A||Sun Country Airlines||June 2020|
|32607||China Xinhua Airlines||N7919A||Sun Country Airlines||June 2020|
|32605||Hainan Airlines||N7901A||Sun Country Airlines||June 2020|
|32578||Jet Airways||N5479A||Sun Country Airlines||July 2020|
|33677||Neos||N7933A||Sun Country Airlines||July 2020|
|32739||NewGen Airways||N7949A||Sun Country Airlines||August 2020|
Under a March 2019 agreement between Atlas Air and Amazon, Southern is committed to providing CMI operations for at least five and up to twenty 737-800Fs. Amazon already has at least two more confirmed frames that have reserved registrations and will soon be delivered: units 32608 and 34029 (both ex-China Xinhua Airlines), which were sent to China for conversion in January and March, respectively. The e-commerce giant did not comment on its 737 plans.
Apart from units 32472, 32608 and 34029, only two more aircraft are left under Amazon’s agreement announced at last year’s Paris Air Show to lease fifteen additional 737-800BCFs from GECAS. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the last five all heading to Southern Air, which declined to comment.
GECAS 737-800s destined for Amazon
|MSN||Previous Operator||Reserved Registration||Status|
|32742||NewGen Airways||N5227A||Went to China in January; arrived VQQ Aug. 2|
|32608||China Xinhua Airlines||N5237A||Went to PVG in January|
|34029||China Xinhua Airlines||N5233A||Went to TNA in March|
While Southern Air is set to grow its 737-800F fleet, its 737-400F fleet has diminished and the airline appears to no longer operate them. Until recently, Southern Air had been operating five 737-400Fs (26316, 26455, 26334, 27157 and 27674) for DHL Express; in late June, DHL transferred unit 26316 to Kalitta Charters II, and units 26455 and 26334 began to be operated by iAero Airways in July and August, respectively. The two remaining units (27157 and 27674) have been in Cincinnati (CVG) since Aug. 1. DHL did not comment on whether these are the two 737-400Fs that will be operated by new partner Mesa Airlines starting in October.
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings recently added a new investor in the form of hedge fund Greenlight Capital, which in its recent Q2 investor letter said it had “added a new large equity position” in the company. The fund invested in Atlas based on the strong charter market resulting from the continuing weakness in passenger aviation and the attractive long-term prospects for air freight.