Venezuela-based all-cargo carrier Transcarga International Airways put its first jet freighter, an A300B4F (261, ex-TNT Airways), into revenue service, connecting Caracas with Miami and Houston.
Transcarga began operations in 2002, initially on an ACMI basis, and then with a handful of its own small Cessna 402B and Embraer 120s turboprop freighters. However, in 2012 it acquired an A300B4F from Air Contractors, in the expectation of being granted permission to serve the US. Since then, it has a acquired six more A300B4Fs – five ex-Air Contractors, as well as the ex-TNT unit –in the expectation of rapidly expanding operations.
Transcargo currently has authority for twenty monthly flights between Venezuela and Miami, and ten monthly flights between Venezuela and Houston, but says it will apply for more US frequencies in February. Transcarga also serves the Caribbean through an ACMI arrangement with Ameriflight, which operates two daily turboprop freighter services on its behalf.
What remains to be seen, is whether an operation based on a fleet of freighters over thirty years old can succeed. Even if fuel costs are subsidized by the Venezuelan government (which has plenty of oil, if not much else), maintenance expenses will be high.
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