Earlier this week, we began our four-part analysis of the worldwide express freighter fleet. Part I offers a look at the overall fleet of jet freighters used now by the integrated express operators, and how that fleet has changed over the years. In Part II we examined the fleets of relative newcomers to the industry, such as Amazon, SF Express, and YTO Cargo Airlines. Yesterday, Part III continued with a company-by-company overview of the three largest integrators, FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Today, Part IV concludes with a look at the ACMI operators that do much of the flying on behalf of the integrators.
While the majority of freighters in express service are in service directly with airline subsidiaries of the integrators themselves, 18% of the express freighter fleet (201 units) are operated by large ACMI carriers with 15+ freighters in express operations (see the ACMI Express fleets chart above). Ireland-based ASL Group has expanded its fleet over the years through the acquisition of Farnair, and most recently, the airline affiliate of TNT Express. ASL’s airlines continue to operate 32 freighters for FedEx, along with 18 freighters for DHL and 16 for other integrators. Atlas Air operates thirty-eight freighters for DHL and Amazon – all but eight 737Fs are widebodies.
Along with the freighters listed in the charts included in Part I, others are in service to the companies discussed here, as well as to other companies that are not pure express operators but still have an express arm of their business – including, for example, All Nippon Airways in Japan, which operates twelve 767-300 freighters, many of them carrying freight fitting the express category. The growth of express freight among express and other cargo operators seems likely to continue while the global e-commerce business keeps up its current growth trajectory. Regardless of what e-commerce shoppers are ordering and in which country they live, they want their orders as quickly as possible. While additional own-network operations by e-commerce giants are potentially on the horizon, in the meantime, express operators are bound to continue finding demand for space aboard their growing fleets of freighters.