The widebody freighter fleet — Part III

Malaysia-based Raya Airways entered the ranks of widebody operators in 2016 with the acquisition of a 767-200F.
Malaysia-based Raya Airways entered the ranks of widebody operators in 2016 with the acquisition of a 767-200F.

Today, in Part III of our annual widebody freighter fleet analysis, we turn from aircraft to operators. Tomorrow, we will conclude with a look into the future. (You can read Part I here, Part II here, and Part IV here).

The chart in Part I shows that the 1,002 widebody freighters in the worldwide fleet are operated by a total of seventy-five carriers. This is down from seventy-nine last year (and eighty-five the year before) as nine carriers have ceased widebody freighter operation (or gone out of business altogether), while five new carriers have entered the list, and two names have changed. Gone from last year are:

Caspian Airlines: This Iran-based carrier is still operating, but parked its single remaining widebody freighter, a 747-200F.

Dynamic Airways: The US-based charter operator exited the cargo business. It’s two 767-200Fs are now stored at Miami International.

euroAtlantic Airways: This Portugal-based ACMI operator put its single 767-300BDSF into storage. It is still operating eight passenger aircraft, but appears to have lost interest in cargo.

Iran Air: The Iranian flag carrier is still operating a large fleet of passenger aircraft, but put its 747-200F and A300B4F into storage. It is currently in the process of a massive fleet renewal, but whether or not it will return to freighter operation is unknown.

Solar Cargo: Venezuela-based Solar put its only aircraft, a DC-10-30F into storage. Cargo Facts does not know if Solar has ceased operations permanently.

South Airlines: Armenia-based South Airlines (which operates from a base in Sharjah in the UAE), operated two 747 Classic freighters last year, but is now variously reported to have either ceased operations, or to be operating a single 737-200C.

Southern Air: Unlike most of the carriers in this list, Southern air did not go out of business or park freighters. Rather, it was acquired by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, and we now show its five 777Fs as part of the AAWW fleet.

TNT Airways: Formerly the air arm of TNT Express, TNT Airways was acquired by ASL Aviation Group when FedEx acquired TNT Express.

Unique Air: Formerly based at Sharjah, Unique Air has ceased operations. Its two A300B4Fs are reported to have been acquired by Moldova-based Pecotox Air, but, so far at least, Pecotox is not flying them (or any other aircraft).

New to the list this year are:

Afriqiyah Airways: This Libya-based passenger carrier acquired an A300-600F last year, on lease from UAE-based Blue Sky Aviation Services.

Bravo Air: Georgia-registered Bravo is yet another startup from the Caspian region with a base in Sharjah. It acquired an A300B4F last year and is reported to be operating it in charter service.

KF Cargo: When this Canadian carrier lost its long-standing contract to fly for Canada Post/Purolator two years ago, it put its three DC-10-30Fs into trans-Atlantic service under the KF Cargo brand. That operation was not successful and KF parked the freighters. But in April 2016, KF reactivated two of them in charter service from Miami to South America.

Raya Airways: Malaysia-based Raya is not a new carrier, but 2016 saw it add a 767-200F to its four-unit narrowbody freighter fleet. Worth pointing out is that this could be considered a return to widebody operation, rather than a completely new step. Raya grew out of the ashes of the former Transmile Air Services, which, at one point, operated four MD-11Fs.

Sky Gates Airlines: This Russian carrier received its AOC last year, and immediately leased a 747-400F from Silk Way West and put it into scheduled service connecting Moscow and Maastricht via Baku.

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