Kenya-based Astral Aviation will grow its medium-widebody fleet by adding a few more 767Fs in the next year or two and introduce the 757F platform to its operation, according to CEO Sanjeev Ghadia.
Speaking during the opening panel discussion at Cargo Facts EMEA on June 2, Ghadia said Astral’s current single 767-200BDSF (22217, ex-West Atlantic) is well-suited to carrying flowers and perishables from Africa to the U.A.E., for example. The 767 has also enabled the carrier to expand its operations to the U.A.E, and will soon also fly to Hong Kong (HKG) to carry electronics.
“We’ve actually got another three 767 deliveries which are coming in between the next six to eighteen months,” he said, adding that he wishes fellow panelist Geoff Kehr, SVP of global air fleet management at DHL Express, would release more of the integrator’s 767Fs out into the market.
Unit 22217 arrived in Nairobi (NBO) on Jan. 1, 2021, and is on lease from Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM). Astral previously told Cargo Facts that it was in discussions with CAM on a second 767-200BDSF.
The other three aircraft, regardless of whether they are -200s or -300s, are likely to also be from CAM, which currently leases thirteen 767Fs to DHL but will take at least a couple off-lease from DHL later this year.
Additionally, Gadhia said Astral expects to soon take delivery of its first 757-200F with Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, introducing another fleet type to Astral’s operations.
Gadhia declined to provide more specifics on the 757 for now, but Cargo Facts believes two likely sources are CAM, whose affiliate carrier Air Transport International had previously operated four 757-200PCFs (22910, 22812, 23687 and 25042) with PW2000 engines on an ACMI basis for DHL and had put at least three up for sale last year; and CSDS Aircraft Sales and Leasing, which has been advertising the sale of an ex-Ethiopian Airlines 757-200PCF (25014) without engines. The 1991-vintage aircraft had previously been equipped with PW2000s.
Miami-based Amerijet, currently a 767F operator, will soon also take delivery of its first 757-200PCF (29311, ex-Icelandair).