Astral Aviation diversifies cargo fleet with 737 freighter

Image source: Astral Aviation

Astral Aviation has grown and diversified its fleet with the lease of its first Boeing 737-400 freighter from Canadian lessor Avmax Group.

In addition to the dry leased 737-400F (MSN 27082), Avmax has purchased and leased back a Boeing 767-200F (MSN 22217) airframe that has been in Astral’s fleet since 2020.

Sanjeev Gadhia, founder and chief executive of Astral Aviation, commented: “We are excited to add Avmax as a growth partner. Both transactions highlight their ability to provide flexible solutions that meet market requirements, enabling further growth for the Astral fleet.

“The introduction of the B737-400F marks an important inflection point in our growth strategy. This aircraft streamlines our fleet mix, allows Astral to match cargo demand with appropriate capacity, and ultimately offers better solutions to our customers.”

Kenya-headquartered Astral Aviation has hubs in Nairobi, Dubai, Johannesburg and Liege and currently operates one Boeing 757F, one Boeing 767F, two Boeing 727Fs, one McDonnell Douglas DC9F, and three Fokker 50s. The airline also has two 767Fs on order, due for delivery this year.

Astral also plans to add two Embraer E190Fs next year, following a deal with Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) in 2022.

Steve Hankirk, chief executive of Avmax Group, stated: “We are pleased to have completed both transactions with Astral Aviation and welcome them into the Avmax family. Astral continues to demonstrate that they are a leading cargo carrier in the African market, and we are proud to support them with the growth of their airline.”

Scott Greig, senior vice president and head of Avmax Aircraft Leasing Inc., emphasized Avmax’s strategic focus on the African market and its operational agility, stating, “Both transactions demonstrate our commitment to the African market and highlight Avmax’s diverse capabilities in leasing aircraft to leading carriers like Astral Aviation. We are pleased to support Astral as they optimize their fleet with the introduction of a B737-400F, enhancing their ability to meet growing cargo demand effectively.”

The announcements were made during this year’s AviaDev conference in Namibia, where industry leaders gather to discuss developments and opportunities in African aviation.

In March, Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation began a partnership that incorporates Astral operating weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to its home hub of Nairobi where cargo can then be flown to and from other points in the carrier’s African network.

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]