Legal troubles pile up for Centurion

Lessor has filed s against Miami-based all-cargo operator alleging a reported $10.2 million in unpaid aircraft lease rentals.

Centurion MD-11F.  Photo: Maarten Visser/Wikimedia

Centurion MD-11F. Photo: Maarten Visser/Wikimedia

As we reported last week, fuel supplier took action against Centurion earlier this year, claiming the carrier and its affiliate were past due on $12.9 million in fuel bills. But as we looked into the rumor of a new from , we discovered others as well. Here is a chronological summary:

  • May 2014 Fuel supplier filed mechanic liens against all eleven freighters in the fleets of and sister carrier (formerly Tradewinds Airlines). The liens would prevent the aircraft owner from selling any of the planes without first paying .
  • July 2014: filed lis pendens notices concerning the eleven freighters in the May s, which, if enforced, could put the freighters up for auction to satisfy the debt.
  • August 4 2014: AGC, an engine MRO based in Meridian, CT, filed a against Centurion. Basic information about the suit is here.
  • August 26 2014: Starr Indemnity and Liability, an insurance and investment company, filed a against Centurion and AirMax Cargo (which offers  767 freighter service between Lima and Miami). Basic information is here.
  • August 29 2014: , an Ireland-based subsidiary of aircraft lessor , filed five separate suits against Inc. et al, one each concerning four MD-11Fs Centurion leases from subsidiary Pegasus Aviation Finance Company (), and one concerning a 747-400F leases from . A summary of that case is here. According to a report in the South Florida Business Journal, the suits say that the plaintiffs demanded that Centurion return the planes, but the company refused.

 

Both and (formerly TradeWinds Airlines) are controlled by industry veteran Alfonso Rey, who also controlled Cielos del Peru, which went out of business in 2010, and has been involved in many other airlines.

Between them, the Centurion and SkyLease fleets include a total of twelve freighters, used mostly in North-South service connecting Latin America to North America through Miami, but also connecting the Americas with Europe on a Miami-Amsterdam route.

SkyLease has five owned MD-11Fs (48461, 48495, 48496, 48497, 48520, all ex-China Cargo Airlines), as well as two 747-400ERFs (32870, 33096) leased from AerCap and one 747-400F (25868) leased from and now the subject of one of the five s.

Centurion has four MD-11Fs (48426, 48427, 48429, 48430, all ex-Alitalia). Each of these freighters is the subject of a separate filed by . One of these aircraft has been parked since April, the other three had been flying regularly until 6 September but have remained on the ground in Miami since then.

In addition to the documented actions above, there are other indications of trouble for Centurion, and possibly SkyLease as well. Observers at Miami International tell Cargo Facts that all of the Centurion Cargo signs have been removed from the big new cargo facility the carrier recently leased from Aeroterm , and pilot website pprune.com cites a rumor that Centurion pilots have been furloughed. Cargo Facts cannot confirm this rumor, but there was no answer when we called the Centurion office.

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