Legal troubles pile up for Centurion

Lessor AWAS has filed lawsuits against Miami-based all-cargo operator Centurion Air Cargo alleging a reported $10.2 million in unpaid aircraft lease rentals.

Centurion MD-11F. Photo: Maarten Visser/Wikimedia

As we reported last week, fuel supplier Chemoil took legal action against Centurion earlier this year, claiming the carrier and its affiliate SkyLease Cargo were past due on $12.9 million in fuel bills. But as we looked into the rumor of a new lawsuit from AWAS, we discovered others as well. Here is a chronological summary:


Both Centurion Air Cargo and SkyLease Cargo (formerly TradeWinds Airlines) are controlled by industry veteran Alfonso Rey, who also controlled Cielos del Peru, which went out of business in 2010, and has been involved in many other airlines.

Between them, the Centurion and SkyLease fleets include a total of twelve freighters, used mostly in North-South service connecting Latin America to North America through Miami, but also connecting the Americas with Europe on a Miami-Amsterdam route.

SkyLease has five owned MD-11Fs (48461, 48495, 48496, 48497, 48520, all ex-China Cargo Airlines), as well as two 747-400ERFs (32870, 33096) leased from AerCap and one 747-400F (25868) leased from PAFCO and now the subject of one of the five lawsuits.

Centurion has four MD-11Fs (48426, 48427, 48429, 48430, all ex-Alitalia). Each of these freighters is the subject of a separate lawsuit filed by PAFCO. One of these aircraft has been parked since April, the other three had been flying regularly until 6 September but have remained on the ground in Miami since then.

In addition to the documented legal actions above, there are other indications of trouble for Centurion, and possibly SkyLease as well. Observers at Miami International tell Cargo Facts that all of the Centurion Cargo signs have been removed from the big new cargo facility the carrier recently leased from Aeroterm , and pilot website cites a rumor that Centurion pilots have been furloughed. Cargo Facts cannot confirm this rumor, but there was no answer when we called the Centurion office.

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