Aviastar-TU sees more 757Fs on the horizon

Aviastar-TU’s 757-200 (25731) in conversion with Precision Aircraft Solutions. Photo source: Precision

After taking delivery of a 757-200PCF (25731, ex-American Airlines) on-lease from New Zealand-based Airwork this month, Russia-based Aviastar-TU confirmed to Cargo Facts that it plans to add another freighter-converted 757-200PCF later this year, and possibly more in 2019.

The carrier’s second 757-200 (25696) is already in conversion with Precision Aircraft Solutions at the Aersale facility in Goodyear (GYR), with delivery planned for October or November of this year.

Beyond the second 757F, Aviastar-TU Chief Executive Officer Dimitriy Kovalenko told Cargo Facts it may add a third unit to its AOC later this year. The carrier would operate the aircraft on Aviastar’s AOC and operate the 757F in commercial service for an undisclosed owner.

Conversion houses have heard growing interest for 757 freighter conversions from Russia recently. In addition to the freighters Aviastar-TU is adding this year, Russian startup cargo carrier E-Cargo (which, Kovalenko told us, has no business connection to Aviastar-TU) has added at least one Precision-converted 757-200PCF (25638, ex-United Airlines), and plans to increase its total fleet to five aircraft by 2020. The 757F was selected specifically for its “economic efficiency and the ratio of flight range-commercial load,” E-Cargo owner Andrey Chuprov told Russian publication Vedomosti. Given Aviastar-TU’s operations between China and Russia supporting e-commerce and postal traffic, the benefits of the 757F are supportive of growing e-commerce volumes.

Aviastar-TU may also continue growing its 757 freighter fleet in 2019, depending on how its operations with the two new 757 freighters go during the remainder of 2018, and how much market demand Aviastar-TU sees for the freighter. If the demand materializes, “we already have some arrangements for extra 757s for next year,” Kovalenko told Cargo Facts.

Aviastar-TU currently has four TU-204cs in its fleet, with one operating on behalf of DHL between Moscow and Leipzig (LEJ). Additional TU-204C flights are operated between Russia and China for Alibaba’s smart logistics affiliate, Cainiao.

Find out more about how e-commerce demand is supporting the freighter market on 10-12 October at the 2018 Cargo Facts Symposium, where the topic will be discussed in a panel titled, “E-Commerce: How Much More Instant Gratification Will Come By Freighter?” For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com. Discounted Early Bird registration ends on 24 August.

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