© Ivan Cholakov
© Ivan Cholakov

The US Department of Transport has called on Centurion Air Cargo to provide evidence of its ‘fitness to operate’ before it can resume service.

Last month, Miami-based Centurion applied for a waiver of the revocation-for-dormancy provisions for an initial period of three months, until March 30, 2018.

It said it intended to resume operations under the same ownership and in “substantially the same fashion” as before.

It argued that although it was not able to “complete the necessary steps” before the December 31 2017 deadline, it held the relevant certificates to operate.

It added that owner Alfonso Rey and his management team – which have continued to operate sister carrier Sky Lease Cargo – have, during the dormancy, “been considering the best operating structure to support their long-term customers. They have concluded that it is financially prudent, and will benefit customers, to bring Centurion’s manuals and procedures up-to-date and resume its own operations as a complement to those of Sky Lease”.

It also continues to hold FAA authority to operate.

However, the DoT responded by noting that Centurion had not provided “any of the fitness information required”.

It said: “Generally, it is not our practice to grant requests for extensions from the provisions … unless the applicant has provided evidence that it still meets the department’s fitness criteria and that it completed nearly all the steps to recommence operations (ie, has the necessary personnel, financial resources, aircraft, and FAA operating authority).

“Although Centurion states that it still has access to a management team and substantial funding, it did not provide evidence to demonstrate it still meets the department’s fitness criteria or that it is taking necessary steps to return its FAA-issued operation specifications to a level which would allow it to resume operations.”

The DoT added that it was unable to issue a positive fitness finding.

However, it gave the carrier three months to provide the evidence required, which would allow it to resume operations. If, however, the evidence is not received by March 30, the DoT intends to “proceed with the revocation of Centurion’s economic authority for reason of dormancy”.

Sky Lease, which has two 747Fs and one MD-11F active on its books, appears to be operating just one of each, according to the latest flight data. It has also been using Centurion’s 747-400F. One of Centurion’s two MD-11Fs, meanwhile, flying on behalf of Sky Lease Cargo, suffered damage at the end of November after landing at Sacramento Mather, when a wing tip hit the runway in low visibility conditions.

Centurion had a strong perishables business between Miami and Amsterdam, but Sky Lease appears to be focusing for now on the Latin American market. Its website is currently “under maintenance”.

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