Miami-based Centurion expanded its North/South America MD-11F operations by adding the European connection three years ago with five weekly 747-400 freighter frequencies to Amsterdam. However, the carrier has faced mounting legal problems this year, and has grounded its MD-11F fleet. With the cessation of the Amsterdam service, what is left? The answer to that question is: “sister carrier SkyLease Cargo.” SkyLease, which, like Centurion, is privately owned by Alfonso Rey, currently appears likely to continue flying, albeit with a reduced fleet of just two 747-400ERFs.
The combined fleet of the two carriers currently includes two 747-400ERFs, one 747-400F, and ten MD-11Fs. However, lessor AWAS has filed lawsuits claiming unpaid lease rentals on the 747-400F and four of the MD-11Fs. According to flight-tracking service FlightAware, Centurion operated its last MD-11F flight three weeks ago. SkyLease appears to be operating the two 747-400ERFs, but only one MD-11F at present.
Whether SkyLease will, as planned, move to an all 747 fleet is unclear. The two -400ERFs are leased from AerCap, which has not commented on the Centurion/SkyLease situation. Further, before the MD-11F groundings, and the AWAS lawsuits, Centurion/SkyLease was in the process of acquiring another -400ERF (33097, ex-Air France-KLM). That freighter was re-registered as N904AR on 2 September. The “AR” suffix is typically used by Alfonso Rey, but Cargo Facts can find no record of the freighter actually flying for either Centurion or SkyLease yet.