An A330-300P2F (713, ex-AirAsia) has surfaced emblazoned in the colors of French forwarder Geodis, which has “secured” the aircraft for a minimum of five years, and plans to begin utilizing the aircraft as part of an expansion to its dedicated AirDirect and Air Charter services.
The freighter’s schedule is “under our full control,” Geodis said in an Aug. 25 update to its website. Regular flights will connect cities in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the notice.
When aircraft manager Stratos took redelivery of the aircraft in July, it declined to identify the lessee but told Cargo Facts that U.K.-based Titan Airways will operate it on a CMI basis. As of Aug. 3, Titan Airways did not yet have the A330 type on its air operator certificate.
Unit 713, built in 2006 with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, made a test flight today in Chateauroux (CHR), after landing there in July. Stratos had sent the A330 to Dresden (DRS) in July 2020 for conversion.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Geodis has increased its reliance on chartered air cargo capacity. A dedicated aircraft serving within an own-controlled network takes that program to the next level.
During a webinar with our sister publication Air Cargo World earlier this year, Senior Vice President of Global Airfreight Stanislas Brun said that the forwarder began chartering its own capacity in late February last year. “We have implemented different programs to compensate for the lack of passenger capacity, and have been able to continue to do so as long as it is required,” Brun said. “Our main concern is to be able to set up enough capacity … to make sure that we continue to serve our customers.”
While Geodis did not outline its planned schedule for the A330-300P2F, the AirDirect service will continue to include other chartered flights connecting Europe to China, China to Mexico, and other trans-Atlantic flights, including:
- Thrice-weekly service between Amsterdam (AMS) and Chicago (ORD);
- Weekly service between Hong Kong (HKG) and Guadalajara (GDL);
- Weekly service between Shanghai (PVG) and GDL (operated by Cargolux); and
- Weekly service between AMS and PVG.
Unit 713 is the eighth A330-300P2F EFW has converted. The previous seven have all joined the fleet of DHL Express. More customers will soon take their first A330-300P2Fs, with redeliveries to Turkey-based MNG Airlines and CDB Aviation in 2022.
Meanwhile, another French company also began own-controlled freighter operations. Earlier this year, shipping line CMA CGM purchased four A330-200Fs from Qatar Airways and placed them with Air Belgium for CMI operation on behalf of its new CMA CGM Air Cargo division.
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