Earlier this week, London-based CargoLogicAir (CLA) added a 747-400 freighter (35170) to its fleet, bringing the all-cargo airline’s fleet total to four units, comprised of three 747-400Fs and a 747-8F. The UK-based carrier expects to have a fifth freighter operating in its fleet by 2020.
The newest addition to the fleet is on an operational lease from Amentum Aircraft Leasing, and until 9 October, was operating in the fleet of CLA’s strategic partner, AirBridgeCargo. Both AirBridge and CLA are affiliates of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group, which in recent years has backed the growth of some of the industry’s fastest-growing all-cargo carriers.
CargoLogicAir reported cargo volumes and revenues had doubled in the first three quarters of 2018, compared to last year. CLA’s fleet meanwhile, has remained stable since May 2017, when it added its third freighter, a 747-400ERF to its fleet. The newest addition to the fleet will be utilized primarily for trans-Atlantic charter services between the UK and North America, with a particular focus on routes to the United States. Following this year’s peak season, CLA expects to add new scheduled services to its network.
Having taken delivery of both new-build production freighters directly from Boeing (747-8F) as well as hand-me-downs from the AirBridgeCargo fleet, CLA could add either type in the future. Earlier this year, Volga-Dnepr Group and its affiliate CargoLogicHolding signed several agreements with Boeing, including a firm order for five 747-8 freighters, and a letter of intent to purchase up to twenty-nine 777 freighters. While LOIs do not always translate into firm orders, aircraft deliveries have materialized from past LOIs between Volga-Dnepr and Boeing – even if not for the full number included in the LOI. In parallel with the freighter frenzy at Farnborough, Volga-Dnepr airlines have been involved in a number of large-scale commercial projects that could propel fleet growth.
Returning to operations at CLA, apart from its hub in the UK, the carrier is also planning to increase its presence at Liège Airport (LGG). Volga-Dnepr said earlier this month that its airlines will eventually operate up to thirty cargo flights per week at the airport, up from ten weekly AirBridgeCargo flights today.