CAL Cargo becomes Challenge Airlines IL

By Yvonne Mulder

Yossi Shoukroun. Source: Challenge Group

Israel-based CAL Cargo has been renamed to reflect its position as part of the Challenge Group.

CAL Cargo, founded more than 40 years ago to transport Israeli agricultural exports to Europe, has been rebranded as Challenge Airlines IL, matching its sister companies in the Challenge Group. It currently operates a fleet of two B747s, but is also waiting to take delivery of two B767s which are in the process of being converted to freighters.

Yossi Shoukroun, chief executive of Challenge Group, and new chief executive at Challenge Airlines IL, said: “CAL Cargo has built up an excellent reputation over the past 46 years, as an expert in uplifting complex, outsize shipments. Hence its tagline ‘Your non-standard is our standard’. We felt that the time is now right to reward CAL Cargo’s contribution, both by investing in renewing its fleet and facilities, as well as by firmly establishing it within our group.”

When in 2010 CAL Cargo was acquired by its subsequent chairman of the board, Offer Gilboa, the foundations were laid for what would develop into Challenge Group in 2020. He introduced a commercial approach to the airline’s activities, opened new destinations and developed the group’s slogan ‘Challenge Accepted’.

In a recent interview with Air Cargo News, Shoukroun said: “Our strategy is to triple our current fleet size and operate 12 aircraft within the next five years. We aim to add four Boeing 767Fs and four B777F converted aircraft, and have applied for a new AOC in Malta, where Challenge Group is headquartered.”

The group has trebled its capacity over the past four years and now handles 300,000+ tonnes of cargo per year.

Challenge Group, which employs 850 people, has three airlines (Challenge Airlines IL in Israel, Challenge Airlines BE in Belgium, Challenge Airlines MT in Malta), ground handling and road feeder operations out of Liege, Belgium, an aircraft and parts leasing division (Challenge Aviation), and a comprehensive line maintenance provider (Challenge Technic).

Challenge Group reveals ambitious freighter fleet growth plans

Challenge Air Cargo offers scheduled China-Europe freighter

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