msc air cargo
Photo: MSC Air Cargo

There has been a raft of freighter and aircraft news this week, as airlines work to get in capacity for later in the year – and others are stymied by supply chain and other issues.

Atlas has acquired two 747s; Challenge Group is threatening to back out of a deal for three 777s; Kenya Airways has parked two 787s; and MSC has taken delivery of a 777.

Having reached an agreement with Jet Airways two years ago to buy three 777 passenger aircraft from the Indian carrier, Challenge still finds itself awaiting delivery of the 777s with Jet’s new owners so keen to keep hold of them that they took the sale to a tribunal.

Those efforts are now culminating, with previous appeals against the sale having been thrown out and a ruling on a last-ditch appeal due any day now.

Speaking to Indian press, Challenge’s chief investment officer Michael Koish said that “enough is enough”, stressing that any further efforts to block the sale would result in Challenge walking away from this deal and taking “its $5.6m back with full interest”.

“We don’t understand what’s going on here. On the one hand, we have the Supreme Court [making] a very clear decision to continue with the deal,” said Mr Koish.

“On the other, nobody wants to actually do anything productive. We’ve already travelled to India thrice since last year, including last week, to complete this deal. However, the monitoring committee did not speak to or meet us.”

A Challenge spokesperson told The Loadstar the intention was to convert the aircraft, although they refused to give further details on the issues surrounding the acquisition.

Meanwhile, in more successful freighter news, Atlas landed itself two increasingly in-demand nose-loading 747-400Fs, buying the aircraft from Silk Way West Airlines.

And MSC Air Cargo on 9 May took (delayed) delivery of its fifth 777 freighter, but the first for its new Italian AOC, AlisCargo Airlines. MSC currently operates two flights a week between Malpensa and Hong Kong.

“The receipt of this aircraft will enhance our efficiency and capabilities to better service our customers and trade lanes,’’ said Jannie Davel, senior vice president of MSC Air Cargo.

And while not explicitly freighter related, Kenya Airways has seen its cargo capacity cut as a consequence of being forced to ground two of it 787s.

The decision to park up the Dreamliners has been forced upon it as a consequence of delays in the delivery of engine parts and components, although, as of yesterday, the Kenyan flag carrier implied the grounding would be short-lived with parts due to arrive shortly.

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