Kenya-based air cargo operator Astral Aviation took delivery on Wednesday of a Boeing 767-200BCF freighter aircraft, which it is leasing from Nasdaq-listed Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) under a five-year deal. The aircraft was delivered to Nairobi by ATSG subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management. This is the first time that Astral has leased an aircraft from ATSG.
“This aircraft will allow us to better serve the needs of our customers throughout our intra-African and Middle East networks, and ATSG’s support and assistance has been indispensable,” explained Astral CEO Sanjeev Gadhia. “Establishing a partnership with the world’s largest lessor of 767s is something we have been after for some time now. I view this as something special for Astral and all of sub-Saharan Africa.”
The 767-200BCF has a payload of 42 t, with a cargo volume of 350 m3. The suffix -BCF stands for ‘Boeing Converted Freighter’, indicating that it was originally a passenger airliner that was converted into a freighter. An aircraft built as a dedicated freighter would be designated 767F.
This aircraft is the first 767 to be operated by Astral. Prior to the arrival, its fleet totalled 14 aircraft, composed of cargo versions of the Boeing 747-400, 727-200, Boeing (McDonnell-Douglas) DC9-33, and Fokker 27.
Astral operates scheduled and charter air cargo services to more than 50 locations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it operated medical supply flights to 42 countries in Africa. These missions transported personal protective equipment, test kits and ventilators.
“ATSG welcomes this opportunity to help Astral broaden its service offerings by delivering its first 767 aircraft, and we look forward to more opportunities to expand our relationship in the future with Sanjeev and his team,” affirmed ATSG COO Mike Berger. The group operates a range of leasing and airline subsidiaries.