CMA CGM plans airline launch for first half 2022
24 / 02 / 2022
By Roger Hailey and Damian Brett
Source: CMA CGM
France-based shipping group CMA CGM looks set to launch its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC) airline in the first half of this year, which could mean a phased switch of A330-200 freighter services from its Liege hub in Belgium to Paris CDG.
The Marseille-based ocean giant’s CMA CGM Air Cargo unit has already applied for a Paris an AOC with the French Civil Aviation Authority which would allow its rapidly expanding freighter fleet to serve additional routes out of Paris CDG.
Parent CMA CGM has ordered two Boeing 777Fs, four Airbus A350Fs and one A330-200 to be converted into a freighter.
A CMA CGM Group source told Air Cargo News: “The Boeing 777Fs we are set to take delivery of in spring 2022 will be our first aircraft to be based in CDG and to be directly operated by CMA CGM Air Cargo under our own AOC. Our Airbus A330-200Fs will then gradually be based there as they become part of our AOC.”
Its four A330-200Fs are operated by Air Belgium out of Liege on a route network offering regular weekkly flights to and from Chicago and Atlanta.
A Liege Airport source said: “It’s too soon to confirm a move from CMA CGM. The situation – flight traffic rights, aircrafts… – is complicated.”
CMA CGM Air Cargo was launched in February 2021 and the first freighter services took to the air in March last year.
A flight schedule available on the CMA CGM website indicates that the B777F flights will start from May this year between Paris and Hong Kong, although the airline says that the “exact start date of HKG service [is] subject to permits approvals”.
The June-October 2022 flight schedule has an increased number of B777F flights based at CDG, serving Bangkok in Thailand, Incheon in Japan and Hong Kong. There is a proviso that the “exact start date of BKK and ICN services [is] subject to permits approvals”.
The A330Fs appear to be based at CDG from June onwards.
The ordered aircraft will be registered in France and based at CDG airport on delivery.