An ex-Jade Cargo 747-400ERF (35169) acquired by Israel-based CAL Cargo Airlines in a Taobao auction late in 2017 has emerged from maintenance, and will soon join the CAL fleet, the airline has confirmed to Cargo Facts. On 19 January, the aircraft completed an air test over Tel Aviv, where the aircraft will be based.
The future CAL Cargo freighter was originally put up for auction in November 2017 alongside two other ex-Jade 747Fs (35173 and 35174) but at the time did not receive any bids and went unsold. Eventually, the aircraft was relisted at a lower price and acquired by an affiliate of CAL Cargo for US$23.3 million. In June 2018, the aircraft was removed from storage at Shenzhen Bao’an Airport (SZX) and ferried to Tel Aviv for maintenance at the IAI-Bedek MRO facility.
CAL Cargo also operates a hub at Liège Airport (LGG), where its Belgian affiliate ACE Belgium Freighters is based. According to statements from CAL’s owner, once ACE secures its Belgian air operator certificate, one of the four 747Fs in CAL Cargo’s fleet will be transferred to the ACE fleet. A 747-400BCF (24227) was recently removed from the CAL Cargo fleet and is awaiting a Belgian registration ahead of entering the ACE fleet.
CAL’s ex-Jade 747F will be the second Taobao freighter to enter service, after SF Airlines’ unit 35173 completed its Chinese airworthiness test in October 2018. According to flight-tracking databases, however, SF Airlines has not yet flown the aircraft on scheduled routes outside of mainland China and has been utilizing its 747-400ERF for daily roundtrips between its hub in Shenzhen (SZX) and China’s e-commerce nexus, Hangzhou (HGH). Separate from the ex-Jade freighters, SF Express commenced long-haul widebody operations with a 747-400F ACMI-leased from Atlas Air in October 2018. SF’s second ex-Jade 747-400ERF remains in storage at Shanghai Pudong (PVG).
Those interested in learning more about the latest in freighter aircraft trends are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt, where a panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.