Last week, SF Airlines, the Shenzhen-based air arm of China’s biggest express company, signed an agreement with Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co Ltd covering the carrier’s fleet of sixteen 737 Classic freighters, and five 767-300BCFs.
SF’s first aircraft is currently undergoing a C-check at Boeing Shanghai’s MRO facility. The nose-to-tail maintenance check is expected to be completed in a few days. SF Airlines has also signed commitments for an undisclosed number of 737-800BCF conversions with Boeing, the touch-labor for which will likely be provided by Boeing Shanghai.
In other China-related MRO and aircraft news, a recent spat between aircraft lessor Solenta Aviation, and state-owned carrier, SA Express could expedite the entry of Aviation Industry Corporation of China’s (AVIC) MA-600 freighter into the South African market.
Earlier this month, ACMI and charter operator, Solenta Aviation lodged an application to liquidate the assets of South African state-owned carrier SA Express, after the carrier failed to repay some US$6.5 million in leasing debts for three ERJ-145s it had ACMI-leased in 2016. Two attempts to resuscitate the company, one by the government and a separate attempt from Chinese-financed startup, Fly Modern Ark, have also failed, prompting Fly Modern Ark to move forward with plans to launch its own operations, independent of SA Express, with a fleet of Chinese-made MA-600s, according to a report in ch-aviation.
With funding from the China Development Bank, Fly Modern Ark is preparing its AOC application and has already inked a deal with AVIC for twelve turboprop aircraft – ten MA-600 passenger airliners, and two MA-600 freighters. With SA Express facing liquidation, Modern Ark may expedite the of launch its own operations, and move to take over SA Express’ routes.
In freighter configuration, the MA600F can carry up to seven-LD2 containers, five-LD3 containers, or five-pallets of 88in × 53in, and has a maximum payload of about six tonnes.
Those interested in learning more about SF Express, and the e-commerce market that is driving express carriers to build out their freighter fleets, are invited to join us in Miami this fall for the Cargo Facts Symposium , where speakers from SF Express and JD.com will participate in a session titled: “Taking Advantage of the E-Commerce Revolution.” To register, or for more information, go to CargoFactsSymposium.com.