Yesterday, a Qatar Airways A330-200F (1350) went off-lease from BOC Aviation, and was removed from service. The A330-200F lease is the the first of three agreements between BOC Aviation and Qatar Airways Cargo slated for expiration this year.
Guillaume Halleux, Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, confirmed to Cargo Facts in May of last year that incoming 777Fs have made the three leased A330-200Fs redundant, and that the agreements will not be renewed following expiration. The fate of the five owned A330-200Fs in Qatar Airways’ fleet remains uncertain, but Halleux previously hinted the carrier was considering further reductions as the carrier continues to take delivery of 777Fs, of which it currently has six on order with Boeing. With the first leased A330-200F now in storage, Qatar Airways’ freighter fleet stands at twenty-four units; seven A330-200Fs, two 747-8Fs and fifteen 777Fs.
Returning to the A330-200F now back in the hands of BOC Aviation, local media has long reported that Chengdu-based Sichuan Airlines is considering adding three A330-200Fs to its fleet in 2019, to support planned air cargo growth. Cargo Facts believes Sichuan Airlines intends to lease all three A330-200Fs from BOC Aviation. Although the carrier has not yet confirmed any plans to add A330-200Fs, in recent weeks Sichuan Province, where the carrier is based, has witnessed a flurry of deals indicative of long-term air cargo growth in the region. On 14 December, the Sichuan Provincial Government and China National Aviation Holding signed a strategic cooperation framework to promote Chengdu as an international aviation hub. As part of the agreement, AVIC Group will reportedly expand air cargo capacity at Chengdu’s Tianfu International Airport, which is currently under construction. New cargo routes will connect Tianfu to destinations in Europe and North America. Separately, on 25 December, SF Express’ parent company, SF Holdings, announced plans to develop an air hub at Chengdu’s existing Shuangliu International Airport (CTU).
For now, 1350 appears to be on the ground at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (FCO).
Those interested in learning more about trends in freighter aircraft operations are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.