City Bird has concluded a deal with Airbus Industrie for two new A300-600 freighters for dedicated cargo operations.

The Belgian airline will acquire the two aircraft next year under a 12 year lease purchase. The first will be delivered in early April, with the second arriving a month later. They will be used on City Bird's new dedicated long haul cargo routes to points in Asia, South America and the USA.

The General Electric CF6-80C2-powered aircraft were originally completed as passenger/ cargo convertibles in 1995, against an expected order from Kuwait Airways that never materialised. Since completion, the two A300s have been in storage at the Aerospatiale plant in Toulouse.

City Bird's existing fleet includes two Boeing MD-11s and three Boeing 767-300ERs, which are operated on scheduled passenger services to destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and the USA. Other routes, including to Newark, Montreal and Sao Paulo, are flown in collaboration with Belgian flag carrier Sabena, which holds an 11.2% stake in the independent airline.

City Bird already has a long term agreement with Swisscargo, which controls the cargo operations of Swissair and Sabena (which is part owned by the Swiss airline) and charters all available cargo capacity in City Bird's passenger aircraft on its scheduled destinations.

The City Bird decision to buy the A300-600Fs ends speculation that the airline was planning to acquire Boeing MD-11Fs.

Source: Flight International