First Taobao 747F takes off [VIDEO]

The ex-Jade Cargo 747-400ERF (35169) in the video below was purchased late last year by Israel-based CAL Cargo Airlines in a Taobao auction for US$23.3 million. It has been stored at Shenzhen Bao’an Airport (SZS) and was ferried today to Tel Aviv, where it will undergo maintenance at the IAI-Bedek MRO facility.

CAL Cargo Airlines operates a hub in Belgium, at Liège Airport (LGG), where its affiliated Belgian start-up, ACE Air Cargo Europe, is also based. According to statements from CAL’s owner, Offer Gilboa, once ACE secures a Belgian air operator certificate, one of the four 747Fs in CAL Cargo’s fleet will be registered under ACE to begin with.

According to a Foreign Air Carrier Permit and Exemption request filed in May with the US Department of Transportation, ACE initially plans to operate ACMI service on behalf of other airlines from its Liège base to US locations, including New York’s JFK Airport and Atlanta. Eventually, ACE plans to operate scheduled and charter cargo service to the US with its own aircraft.

The freighter CAL Cargo acquired in the Taobao auction is the second CAL acquired from the fleet of now-defunct Jade Cargo.

The 747F in the video is one of three auctioned off on Taobao late last year, with the other two (35173 and 35174) successfully acquired by SF Express. Those freighters are still in storage at Shanghai Pudong International (PVG). According to people familiar with the matter, SF plans to ferry one 747 to PEMCO World Air Services’ Gunangzhou Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering (GAMECO) MRO facility late this month.

And now, here is the CAL Cargo 747F in action:

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