Connect Cargo freighters grounded

Connect Cargo launched operations last year with two 737-400Fs. (Photo: Connect Cargo)

Brazilian startup Connect Cargo’s two leased 737-400Fs are currently grounded and could end up being repossessed by Luxembourg-based Vallair. According to ANAC, Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency, the two aircraft are no longer cleared for commercial flights.

Connect Cargo, which only completed its Part 121 certification with ANAC and was granted its AOC in June 2019, told Cargo Facts that it is working with Vallair, and that its AOC was still in place. The carrier began operations with two PEMCO-converted units (26605, ex-Japan Transocean Air, and 27087, ex-Malaysia Airlines), flying a range of domestic routes.

Vallair, for its part, told Cargo Facts it is working to repossess the aircraft but that the situation is very fluid at the moment. The company declined to provide more details.

Unit 26605 has not flown since it arrived at Manaus (MAO) from Recife (REC) on Feb. 6, while unit 27087 has been at Belo Horizonte (CNF) since Jan. 30. We note that CNF is the site of GOL Aerotech, the MRO branch of Brazilian carrier GOL.

Connect Cargo had originally planned to add a 767-200F toward the end of 2019 for domestic routes, but told Cargo Facts in December it was expecting to register the aircraft with ANAC by the end of January. The carrier had also been chartering twice-weekly 747-400Fs flying from Hong Kong (HKG) to Sao Paulo (GRU) via Miami (MIA), as well as from MIA to MAO and Viracopos (VCP). Given the reliance on imports from Asia to feed its domestic flights, as well as a declining freight market overall, we wouldn’t be surprised if Connect Cargo is running into difficulties financing its lease payments.

Meanwhile, Brazilian combination carrier Azul continues operating two 737-400SFs (28053 and 28198, both ex-Miami Air International), on lease from Vx Capital.

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