Growing market speculation that Miami-based Centurion Air Cargo and sister Sky Lease again faced financial difficulty was confirmed when the carrier had an aircraft seized this month for non-payment.

The $10m 747-400F was seized by US marshalls on 10 November after lessor Wells Fargo reported the carrier for racking up arrears of at least $673,760, with the judge placing a bond of $1.3m on the aircraft.

Sky Lease, which operated the aircraft, immediately paid the full amount owed to release the plane.

The airfreight sector is hitting its busy period. Some freighter operators are expected to turnover 50% of their entire 2016 revenue in a peak season likely to be crucial to Centurions’s survival.

Sky Lease entered the arrangement with Wells Fargo in March last year, in a deal guaranteed by Centurion. Sky Lease must pay $20,000 a month for the air frame and $20,000 a month for each engine. It also pays $260 for each hour it operates the aircraft and each engine. By August 22 this year, it had built up a debt of $485,768.

After making payments totalling $565,768 by this month, Sky Lease had racked up a further $754,760, which it paid after the aircraft had been seized.

The carrier is also facing legal action from a former pilot, a Muslim, who claims he was discriminated against because of his religion and race.

The pilot, who worked for the carrier between 2011 and 2014, alleges that he was “constructively dismissed” following “years of abuse” at the carrier. Among his complaints was that he was subjected to frequent and pervasive religious hostility from supervisors.

In addition, the pilot claims that he and other Muslim flight crew were refused when they requested non-pork meals and faced proficiency tests and check rides that violated Federal Aviation Agency regulations.

In response, Sky Lease asked for the case to be dismissed as the pilot had improperly framed his complaint.

Another former employee had a case dismissed after he failed to provide suitable proof that Centurion had violated minimum wage regulations through late payment.

Pilots for the carriers have consistently complained of late or non-payment for work completed.

Meanwhile, Centurion is set to face more competition in its South American heartland following the delivery of a first aircraft for Peru’s SkyBus, a DC-8-73F.

The charter carrier specialises in sectors including heavy lift, oil and gas and recently conducted a service between Roswell and Lima, via Cancun, according to CH Aviation.

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  • Centurion employee

    December 07, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Related to centurion cargo,for your information,centurion cargo pilots stopped flying yesterday DEC 06-2016 due the following reasons.
    As previously requested,multiple times during 2016, teamsters local 769 has requested pending payments to be paid in a timely matter and through out 2016,multiple times,centurion has failed to comply,teamsters local 769 is demanding immediate payment and resolution to the following:
    . December 2015,January 2016 and February 2016 overtime payment ( from previous united parcel contract)
    . 10% interest on pending overtime payment for dec 2015, jan 2016 and feb 2016 overtime payment.
    . All of unpaid overtime payment for 2016
    . Payroll payment for nov 5, 2016
    . Payroll payment for nov 19, 2016
    . Payroll payment for dec 5 , 2016
    . Unpaid vacation (2014,2015,2016) accrual for multiple crew members ( union has an open information request pending and unanswered from company).
    . Expense reimbursement
    . Pending system board dates on our open grievances

    We reserve the right to take all steps necessary to enforce our right to this demand letter so that we can properly represent our bargaining unit employees including but not limited to legal action. This includes our right to raise a point of order in protest of any lack of cooperation to the appropriate person,committee or arbitration body,including but not limited to informational picketing,national & international media,F.A.A, federal law suit.
    The centurion crew members have remained and displayed the utmost professionalism throughout this process and continue to work. However,we have reached the limit of not being paid for services rendered.on behalf of the crew that we proudly represent,if any part of this demand letter is denied or unpaid in the timely manner that is outlined as follows,for multiple reasons,including safety reasons,the crew members at centurion will cease and desist from any form of flying until above is paid in full,by not later than Tuesday,december 6, 2016 ( 12:00 pm EST).