US-based Southern Air took redelivery of the second of five 737-400Fs (27674, ex-Malaysia Airlines) it will operate for DHL Express on a CMI basis in the Americas. Conversion of the aircraft to freighter configuration was done by Aeronautical Engineers Inc at Commercial Jet’s Dothan facility.
This is part of a multi-year agreement between DHL and Southern, which will see DHL acquire five 737-400s and have them converted to freighter configuration by AEI. Southern Air will operate the freighters for DHL on a CMI basis, with three based in the US at Cincinnati (CVG) where both DHL and Southern have their hubs. The other two will be based in Caracas (CCS), where Venezuela-based carrier Vensecar (which has operated for DHL for many years) will ACMI lease them from Southern.
Planned routes include flights from Caracas (CCS), to Barbados (BGI) and Trinidad and Tobago (POS) in the Caribbean, as well as from Caracas to Bogotá (BOG) and Panamá City (PTY). In the US, the new aircraft will be used to add flights from the Cincinnati Hub (CVG) to several cities in the Northeast and Midwest, including Philadelphia (PHL), Hartford (BDL) and St. Louis (STL).
The first of the five 737-400Fs (29487) was redelivered earlier this year, and is operating out of Caracas. The remaining three (25109, 26455, and 27157) are in conversion at Dothan, and DHL says it expects all five to be in service by the beginning of August.
Southern also operates four 777Fs for DHL on a CMI basis.