ACIA Aero Leasing partners with DHL on freighter conversions

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Lessor ACIA Aero Leasing is carrying out four freighter conversions for DHL Express as part of an expanded partnership.

DHL Express has agreed with ACIA to acquire and convert a fleet of four ATR 72-500 aircraft into Large Cargo Door (LCD) freighters.

South Africa-based Solenta Aviation, which runs the entire West Africa regional fleet on behalf of DHL Express, will operate these aircraft. 

The first of the four upgraded freighters was converted by Ontario, Canada-based Springer Aerospace, bringing the total number of ACIA aircraft in operation by DHL Express to nine.

These aircraft are currently based in DHL hubs in Gabon, Togo, and the Ivory Coast and operated in the Latin American and African markets.

The remaining three aircraft are scheduled for delivery between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

Mick Mooney, ACIA Aero Leasing chief executive, said: “ACIA is exceptionally well positioned to deliver on this fleet renewal program for DHL Express alongside our partners at Solenta.”

He pointed out that “the companies will leverage the ACIA Group’s proprietary intellectual property for LCD freighter conversion, owned by IPR Conversions, and extensive experience in delivering converted freighters to airline customers on time”.

Paul Hurst, Solenta Aviation’s managing director, added: “We are delighted to join forces with ACIA again to expand our long-standing partnership with DHL Express during such an exciting time for the air cargo industry.

“The renewal of this partnership is a testament to our track record in operating this key part of DHL Express’ route network in these challenging jurisdictions.” 

“This new mandate is about extending both of our companies’ already successful partnership with DHL Express, while converting more aircraft into freighters for which we see robust demand, particularly for turboprops,” added Mooney.

“We’re delighted to entrust ACIA and Solenta with this fleet upgrade,” stated Adriaan (Riaan) Vorster, head of aviation for DHL Express’ Sub-Sahara Africa region.

“Solenta has been operating our West African route network for the best part of the past two decades, and we rely upon both companies’ experience and professionalism to uphold DHL Express’ most rigorous standards and expectations. We look forward to our continued long-term collaboration.”

ACIA currently has 25 ATR 72 family aircraft in its portfolio, including six of the -600 and 16 of the -500 variants. The aircraft are operated as passenger aircraft by Green Africa, Bestfly, and Pakistan International Airlines, and as freighters by Solenta, Silver Airways, and NXT Air. 







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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]