Earlier this year at the Cargo Facts Symposium, the Volga-Dnepr Group elucidated on fleet plans for its Leipzig-based startup, CargoLogic Germany, announcing that a deal for three AEI-converted 737-400Fs had been reached. The source of those aircraft had since remained a mystery – until now.
According to a pre-sale report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Volga-Dnepr Group entities have agreed to lease at least three 737-400Fs currently held by US-based Vx Capital Partners. Each of the three aircraft are in various stages of conversion to freighter configuration, and based on expected conversion completion dates, all of the aircraft are expected to end up in the fleet of CargoLogic Germany.
The three aircraft that could be flying in CLG livery as early as next year are:
- 25775, ex-Yamal Airlines (converted at KF Aerospace in Kelowna)
- 28867, ex-AirExplore (in conversion at the Flightstar facility in Jacksonville)
- 27673, ex-NewGen Airways (in conversion in Kelowna)
The aircraft are among a total of thirty-five narrowbody freighters – two 737-300SFs and thirty-three 737-400SFs – included as collateral for $189 million in asset-backed loans borrowed by Vx Cargo 2018-1 Trust on behalf of Vx Capital Partners. The Asset Backed Security (ABS) is the first of its kind to consist entirely of narrowbody freighters, although other ABS transactions have included a small percentage of freighters.
Most of the aircraft included in Vx Cargo 2018-1 – thirty-one out of thirty-five – are already on-lease with global carriers, and one is subject to lease. Two aircraft currently in conversion have leasing agreements secured through a letter of intent, and just one 737-400 (25773, ex-Yamal Airlines) does not have a customer lined up following conversion by Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. at the Flightstar facility in Jacksonville (VQQ).
Returning to CargoLogic Germany, the Volga-Dnepr Group’s newest affiliate carrier is prepared to begin taking redelivery of its first narrowbody freighters as soon as it receives a German Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). In addition to the 737-400Fs, CLG is also expected to operate at least three of the Volga-Dnepr Group’s AN-124 freighters.
The Group had long wanted to have a scheduled-service operation based in Europe, and tried to achieve that goal through a stake in Frankfurt-based Air Cargo Germany. When that carrier ceased operations in 2013, Volga-Dnepr backed the formation of UK-based CargoLogicAir (CLA), which launched in 2015. CLA has, so far, been successful and now operates three 747 freighters – one 747-8F, one 747-400ERF, and one 747-400F – in both charter service and, beginning this year, scheduled service. CargoLogic Germany will complement CLA with narrowbody operations that target regional express and e-commerce fueled opportunities.
Those interested in learning more narrowbody freighter opportunities in Europe are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt. Register before 14 December to take advantage of early bird rates. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.