Freight SF Airlines to expand to North America in 2019

Cargo operator SF Airlines is reportedly planning to launch cargo flights from China to North America this year.

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The carrier has made an application at the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for opening a route between Hangzhou and New York JFK. Operations will be performed three times weekly with Boeing 747-400F equipment.

SF Airlines is one of the fastest-growing cargo carriers in the branch. Over 53 aircraft make the airline one of the largest freight operator in the world. The 747-400Fs have been acquired in 2017 through an online auction on Alibaba website Taobao.

If all regulatory approvals have been collected, SF Airlines will start flying between its Hangzhou hub and New York from September 2019. The 747 freighters have large capabilities for cargo and SF Airlines seeks to expand its long-haul cargo business.

SF Airlines currently holds an ACMI deal with U.S.-based Atlas Air to operate flights between China and the United States. However, the exact details of these flights are unknown to the public.

In late February 2019, SF Airlines also announced that it plans to build a new freight airport in China┬┤s Hubei province. The plan is already approved by the Chinese government. The Sate Council, as well as the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China have approved the construction. The new airport is likely to serve as an international logistics hub for SF Airlines but will also handle 1 million passengers per year.

SF Airlines has recently taken delivery of a converted Boeing 767. The passenger planes are being modified to serve as cargo aircraft. Regarding the challenges of these conversions, SF Airlines said: "In order to meet the needs of production and transportation, it only takes 90 days from the launch of changing passenger plane to cargo plane to completion of plane commissioning. During the period, SF Airlines Support Team strictly controlled the quality and efficiency of the plane in terms of continuous airworthiness guarantee, configuration evaluation and on-site construction, ensuring that the new transportation capacity is put into operation as scheduled."

SF Airlines is a large Chinese cargo airline and currently operates a fleet of 53 aircraft, including 13 Boeing 737-300Fs, three Boeing 737-400Fs, two Boeing 747-400Fs, 27 Boeing 757-200Fs and eight Boeing 767-300Fs. The operator has hubs at Hangzhou and Beijing Capital and flies to 39 cities across China and India, Vietnam Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

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