US-based Southern Air will soon take redelivery of the first of five freighter-converted 737-400Fs which it will operate on a CMI basis for DHL Express. The passenger-to-freighter conversions will be done by Aeronautical Engineers Inc., and the first of the five 737-400Fs will enter service by the end of this month. DHL and Southern say they expect all five freighters will be operating by the beginning of August.
Three of the 737-400Fs will be based in the US at Cincinnati (CVG) where both DHL and Southern have their hubs. The other two will be based in Caracas, Venezuela (CCS), and operated for Southern by Venezuela-based carrier Vensecar (which has operated for DHL for many years).
Planned routes include flights from Caracas to Barbados (BGI) and Trinidad and Tobago (POS) in the Caribbean, as well as from Caracas to Bogota (BOG) and Panama City (PTY). In the US, the new aircraft will be used to add flights from the Cincinnati Hub to several cities in the Northeast and Midwest, including Philadelphia (PHL), Hartford (BDL) and St. Louis (STL).
Southern currently operates four 777Fs for DHL, also on a CMI basis.