More freighters in Turkey

Anybody who has been paying attention to air freight traffic statistics over the last two years probably has the impression that Turkish Airlines is operating in some other universe — a universe where there was no recession, where demand for air freight is constantly increasing, and where the most serious problem for a carrier is finding enough capacity to keep up with demand. How else to explain 25% growth in 2012, and growth that is still at 15% through the first four months of 2013?

Keeping up with this demand will be a little easier for Turkish Airlines after today, following the delivery of the fourth of five A330-200 Freighters it has on order with Airbus. This addition will bring the carrier’s freighter fleet to nine units — the four owned A330-200Fs, two A330-200Fs ACMI-leased from other carriers (Malaysia Airlines and Turkey-based MNG Airlines), and three owned A310-300Fs.

And speaking of MNG, we should correct an item in last night’s issue of Cargo Facts Update. In that issue we noted that Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing Company (CALC) had agreed to purchase the three A300-600Fs operated by China Cargo Airlines, and that CALC said it had already delivered the first of these to “a new operator based in Europe.” We speculated that this operator might be Latvian all-cargo start-up Alpha Express Airlines, which was known to be actively looking for A300-600Fs. However, a report this morning from Airfinance Journal indicates that CALC sold the freighter to MNG. If this is true, it would bring MNG’s fleet to eight units — One A330-200F (ACMI-leased to Turkish), three A300-600Fs, three A300B4Fs, and a single 737-400F. MNG also had an ex-China Southern A300-600 in passenger configuration that it intended to have converted to freighter configuration by its maintenance arm MNG Technic, but it is not clear when (or even if) that conversion will be done.

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