The Slovakia-based newcomer, exclusively introduced by CargoForwarder Global on 4 February, intends to commence scheduled cargo flights as soon as possible, latest in early April. At this point however, it is uncertain if all commercial and legal requirements needed for getting the green light from the official regulator can be submitted in time.
The shareholder structure is cleared, the biz model has been shaped, a management team is in place, two aircraft have been contracted and sufficient funds to finance at least the first flights as well. Unless of course, all appearances deceive. Meanwhile, some of the hurdles to enable newcomer Air Cargo Global to take to the air seem to have been overcome. According to people close to the case operations are scheduled to commence in March or in early April at the latest.
Hence, time is pressing since the officials behind the project have still to submit a number of data and applications to the aviation authorities if all should go well according to their ambitious plan. Although they presented a business plan to the Slovakian regulator they still did not submit some key technical, financial, and operational documentation required by EU regulation 1008/ 2008 as a precondition for being authorized. These include a liquidity plan for three long years from the very start of operations and a confirmation that there are adequate funds to fulfill all obligations for at least three months. Last but not least the carrier needs to obtain an AOC.
From ACG to ACG
Should all these obstacles be overcome, the aviation scene would eye-witness a kind of resurrection of the former line-haul carrier Air Cargo Germany, which went broke in April of 2013 after a relatively short lifespan of a mere five years. This direct and – as it seems – consciously desired affinity to its forerunner is indicated by the initials ACG and the red and white livery at the tail fin of the aircraft. The fleet is comprised of two Boeing 747-400 SP freighters, manufactured in 1991 and 1992 respectively, which are provided by the Icelandic lessor Avion Aircraft Trading.
Majority owner of the newcomer is Slovakian national Igor Bondarenko, with former Aeroflot Cargo boss Andrey Goryashko holding a minority stake. Goryashko, who also acted as advisor and consultant for Air Cargo Germany can be considered being the strategic and creative head of the forthcoming cargo airline.
Responsible for sales will be Alexander Kirichenko, he also being a former Air Cargo Germany executive, whereas Air Atlanta Icelandic 747-400 Captain Olaf Schumacher will become head of Flight Operations.
It’s a highly ambitious project, although starting at a time when market demand goes up and volumes seem to increase. This upswing however, does not account for the yields that remain under severe pressure, particularly on main routes like Europe-Far East that are extremely competitive and still see overcapacity.
In addition, there are the two aging and fuel thirsty 747-400SPs that are cost intensive and consequently constitute a serious risk factor for getting into the black in the foreseeable future. So unless ACG’s cost basis is not extremely low market experts are doubtful if the newcomer will see a more promising fate than its unfortunate predecessor Air Cargo Germany.
Unlike the latter, the new ACG intends to operate out of Rhine-Main instead of nearby and more cost-efficient Frankfurt-Hahn. From there, the flights will operate to Dubai and Hong Kong, with some of them stopping over at the Slovakian capital Bratislava, the carrier’s future hometown. This means that next to ACG’s main operational gateway Frankfurt, Bratislava will become a sub-hub for direct links to the Eastern European markets. According to sources, services to the U.S. stand also on the mid-term agenda of the makers.
It seems that this chapter has just been opened. So please stay tuned.