all-cargo carrier MK Airlines has taken delivery of its seventh leased Boeing
747-200 freighter and is evaluating the 747-400 Special Freighter and the
747-8F to meet its future fleet expansion needs.
to ATI at Ostend-Bruges International
Airport in Belgium
during an event to mark the opening of MK’s new
European cargo hub, the carrier’s CEO Mike Kruger said an eighth 747-200 will
be added to the fleet in 2007, subject to ongoing negotiations.
declines to disclose from where the aircraft will be sourced, but notes it will
be Pratt & Whitney-powered, MK Airlines’ preferred choice of engine
MK’s future fleet expansion plans, Kruger says he is
“evaluating” the 747-400SF and is “seriously looking” at the 747-8F, which he
calls “the freighter of the future”. The carrier has phased out its McDonnell
Douglas DC-8 freighter fleet and plans to focus on “continuing to build” its
747 fleet in the years to come, he adds.
Airlines last year decided to switch its fleet to the UK
register; the carrier’s fleet has been registered in Ghana
since it was founded in 1990. So far, one of its 747-200Fs has been registered
in the UK,
with the remaining aircraft to be transferred over the coming months.
says that transferring to the UK
registry “strengthens our position” ahead of adding destinations in North
America and China from MK
gateway. However, he notes that 50% of the carrier’s business is in Africa
and “will continue to be”.
registration also gives the carrier “increased credibility” and makes the
financing of aircraft “much easier”, he adds.
order to facilitate the process of transferring to the UK
registry, MK Airlines had to meet certain ownership and control criteria by
attracting extra investment partners. To meet these requirements, Kruger in
July acquired MK Airlines’ shares in partnership with UK
firm Jackson Aviation, which is partly-owned by Flamingo Group.
declines to disclose the exact breakdown in share ownership. “Let’s just say
it’s a partnership and leave it at that,” he says.
Airlines last year took the decision to branch into third-party maintenance
work, using its UK
engineering base at Filton near Bristol.
Kruger says the carrier has since received the European Aviation Safety
Agency’s (EASA) Part 145 approval, and the maintenance side of the business is
“developing rapidly”. This includes 747 and DC-8 maintenance services for a
range of customers, including Russia’s
Transaero, he adds.