21 Air looks to expand its fleet for peak demand

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Freighter operator 21 Air has applied to the US Department of Transportation (DoT) for permission to double the size of its fleet.

According to the filing, the airline is currently limited to a fleet of five aircraft but it would like this limit to increase to 10 freighters.

21 Air currently operates a total of four freighters, three dedicated to an unnamed airline and a fourth through an interchange agreement.

It is also working to become a crew, maintenance, and insurance (CMI) operator to provide support for a US cargo carrier – a segment of the industry with the growth of e-commerce which needs additional capacity.

“Timely approval would serve the public’s need for expanded air cargo lift, including most especially before the Holiday Season,” the company said.

Typically, the DoT monitors new entrants closely for the first five years and limits fleet growth while the carrier’s key management and technical personnel gain experience with its operations and it can demonstrate financial stability.

“21 Air restructured in the last year to be ready to grow in parallel with the demand for service in the air cargo market. James Crane, a leader in freight forwarding and logistics, obtained majority ownership of 21 Air through Avia Acquisitions.

“The new ownership brings financial stability along with industry knowledge of freight forwarding and air cargo airline operations. 21 Air’s experienced management team remains in place alongside this new ownership. The additional aircraft will allow 21 Air to build on its financial restructuring to address market opportunities.”

Avia Acquisitions is in turn 75% owned by Avia Investments and 25% owned by Cargojet, which invested in the business earlier this year.

The carrier added that the move would also help meet consumer demand.

“Since the US has been in a Public Health Emergency for 20 months and counting,1 customers will continue to shop online and expect rapid delivery of their purchases – expectations which require air cargo capacity.

“This industry-wide need for air cargo lift will only become more pronounced as the Holiday Season approaches.”

21 Air is not the only airline looking to change its fleet limit in response to a busy air cargo market as Western Global has also applied to have its fleet limit completely lifted.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector. After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015. Contact me on [email protected]