Southern Air to double its freighter fleet


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US-based ACMI operator SOUTHERN AIR has ambitious fleet plans. The carrier, a subsidiary of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, currently operates two 777Fs and fourteen 747-200Fs/-300Fs, but Senior VP Marketing & Sales Roy Linkner was recently quoted as saying Southern intended to add eight 777Fs and ten 747-400Fs by 2014. Parent Oak Hill has two 777Fs on firm order with BOEING, scheduled for delivery in 2012, and two options, which Mr. Linkner said would be converted within the next few months for delivery in 2013. In addition to the six units from Oak Hill, Southern Air tells Cargo Facts that it is “working with major leasing companies on additional 777Fs for our fleet plans.” Regarding the 747-400Fs, Mr. Linkner was quoted as saying they would come from conversions, with the first unit to be redelivered by the end of the first quarter of 2011. Given that a 747-400 P-to-F conversion takes at least three months, this means the aircraft has already been selected and likely already inducted for conversion. (Cargo Facts believes that both BEDEK AVIATION GROUP and BOEING have recently booked 747 conversion orders from unidentified customers, but does not know which will do the Southern Air conversions.) As the -400Fs enter the fleet, some of Southern’s -200Fs will be retired, but the carrier says it still expects to be operating ten of the older units in 2014. Current ACMI customers include:
•    Thai Cargo (two 777Fs)
•    Malaysian Airlines (four 747-200Fs)
•    Korean Airlines (three 747-200Fs)
•    Ethiopian Airlines (two 747-200Fs)
•    Lufthansa Cargo Charter (one 747-200F)

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