A dearth of air freight capacity has pushed carriers to scramble to re-operate grounded aircraft.

Yesterday, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that the operating licence for Stansted-based Cargologicair (CLA) has been reinstated, along with its air operator certificate to fly its two 747 freighters again.

The carrier had requested a suspension of its licence for three months at the end of February, saying it had found it “extremely difficult to continue its commercial operations.

“Most importantly, CLA operations have been severely affected as it had placed a significant portion of its commercial activities in the Chinese market.”

Now the market appears to welcome the carrier back with open arms on social media, with one insider stating: “Not sure of the full schedule, but it looks promising.”

Forwarders had expressed regret that in times of such a shortage, Cargologicair had had to withdraw its capacity. One said: “I’d use the Luftwaffe right now if it was still going.”

Another freighter operator, Slovakian Air Cargo Global, which had its AOC suspended last week, is also apparently trying to get off the ground again. It had grounded its aircraft to restructure the business and, according to market sources, has been looking for investors.

And Atlas Air has now got two of its four parked aircraft back into the skies.

It grounded its less-efficient aircraft at the start of the year, on a “temporary” basis, telling investors it would fly them again when there was demand. But despite claiming the carrier would only need a week’s lead time to get two of the aircraft back in the air, it took until the start of April, nearly a month after air freight rates had begun to soar. Pilots claimed the delay was down to labour shortages, but Atlas declined to comment.

CEO John Dietrich told investors in February the second two aircraft needed a bigger lead time, of 30 to 45 days, to get back in the skies. They currently remain in Marana Air Park, however.

US carriers under the CRAF programme, by which they are contracted to the US Department of Defense, have been requested to fly on behalf of the government, further limiting carriers’ available commercial capacity.

US Transcom, which contracts the airlines, confirmed to The Loadstar that the “charter missions would be at the set rate under CRAF contract” – ie, carriers flying for the DoD will not receive the extremely high ad hoc rates currently on the market. Carriers in the scheme include Atlas, Kalitta and FedEx.

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