DHL Express has continued the expansion of its owned fleet with the delivery of two widebody freighters, and expects to take delivery of a third production freighter imminently.
The integrator took its first 777F of 2021 and eleventh overall (66814) on April 16, placing it with Germany-based AeroLogic for CMI operation. The carrier, which now operates six of DHL’s owned 777Fs, ferried the aircraft to Leipzig (LEJ).
Meanwhile, DHL also took redelivery of its seventh A330-300P2F from Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). The freighter (1107, ex-Hong Kong Airlines), a 2010-vintage frame with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, arrived at EFW’s facility in Dresden (DRS) in July 2020 ahead of induction for conversion.
DHL told Cargo Facts that it will place unit 1107 with its own airline, European Air Transport, to begin service in May after being painted. European Air Transport already operates three factory-built A330-200Fs, in addition to A300-600Fs and 757-200Fs.
DHL also told Cargo Facts that it will take its next 777F (66815) later this week and place that aircraft with U.S.-based Kalitta Air on a CMI basis.
The deliveries are part of DHL’s rapid fleet growth, which had been underway even prior to the pandemic but has since accelerated.
While freighter capacity is nearly the only option available on many routes, DHL expects bellyhold capacity to make an eventual return. “We will have to use belly capacity simply to remain competitive in the market for overnight service,” said Ingrid Raj, vice president of aviation and network management for the Asia-Pacific region at DHL Express, at a roundtable session during Cargo Facts Asia 2021. “The advantage of having your own metal is that you can redeploy it with different partners on lanes and routes where they are more required,”
The German express company has multiple aircraft of different sizes on order or in conversion. Two more 777Fs will join the fleet later this year and will complete a July 2018 order for fourteen, while a new top-up order for eight more placed in December 2020 will begin delivering in 2022.
In terms of medium widebodies, DHL’s eighth A330-300P2F (1477, ex-Hi Fly) arrived at DRS last November, while the next 767 (33086, ex-American Airlines) has also been in Mexico City (MEX) for conversion by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) since November 2020.
As for narrowbodies, two 737-800s destined for DHL (30499, ex-Shenzhen Airlines, and 30467, ex-SAS) arrived in Tel Aviv (TLV) and Tianjin (TSN), respectively, earlier in April for conversion with IAI.