After a few years in a prolonged “start-up” state, Brazilian all-cargo carrier, Modern Logistics launched operations earlier this week, with its first revenue flight between Campinas Viracopos (VCP) and Recife (REC) with its sole 737-400F.
Back in early 2015, it appeared the carrier was poised for immediate rapid growth, but until now, such growth never materialized, likely related to the sudden decline of the Brazilian economy. Prior to inking any aircraft deals, the company’s ambitious management team, which included CEO Gerald Lee (former VP of JetBlue and co-founder of Brazilian carrier Azul) outlined plans to grow Modern’s fleet to 45 freighters by 2019, with a mix of 737-400Fs and ATR 72Fs, and the addition of the ATRs beginning either late 2014, or early 2015. Modern had even signed an engine support agreement with engine manufacturer CFM International to support its future fleet of 737-400 freighter aircraft – a move that only a serious carrier would make.
Although things did not proceed as rapidly as planned, it appeared at least, that progress was being made. In March 2015 PEMCO began conversion work on what was redelivered as Modern’s first 737-400F (24125), when Modern leased the freighter from Jetran in January 2016. Modern had also placed an earlier order for a 737-400F (24683) with PEMCO, but did not take redelivery of it (that freighter was eventually acquired by Airwork in July 2016).
So now that Modern Logistics’s 737-400F is no longer parked (as it had been since January 2016), what might the future have in store for the carrier? Starting with charters, Modern Logistics will gradually move into “scheduled freighter routes to meet the larger demands of the industry”, Lee said in a recent company release. Its also sticking with plans to build up a fleet of 737-400Fs and ATR 72-200Fs, though no immediate orders were announced. Long-term, Lee remains quite bullish on Brazil’s need for freighter aircraft, citing that most freight moving intra-Brazil currently moves in the limited bellyspace available on passenger aircraft, and that freighters have “enormous potential because of the continental dimensions of Brazil.”
And now, for a video of Modern’s 737-400F taking-off from Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport (IGU):