Herman de Wulf/BRUSSELS

CityBird is finalising its planned order for Boeing 747-400 freighters, as it introduces its first Airbus A300 freighters.

Brussels-based CityBird last year revealed plans to set up a cargo operation, placing orders for two whitetail General Electric CF6-powered A300-600 freighters originally destined for Kuwait Airways. CityBird's plans for 747-400Fs emerged this year, with the airline planning orders for two aircraft.

The airline has an outline agreement with Boeing for two 747s, but the order is yet to be formally announced as details are being finalised. This includes the engine selection (between the General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 and Rolls-Royce RB211). The airline aims to finalise the deal soon to enable deliveries to begin next year.

The carrier has dropped plans to take any 747-200Fs on short-term lease to tide it over until the 747-400Fs arrive, with its new A300-600Fs instead being used to fill the void. CityBird's first A300-600F began operations on 30 July, between Brussels and the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa. The airline will operate the 55t freighters on scheduled services under a wet-lease agreement with Congolese carrier LAC, with which CityBird has a wet-lease agreement for passenger services.

The A300s will also operate to other destinations in West Africa, including Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon. A Middle Eastern destination network is also planned, with candidates including points in Turkey, Syria and Israel.

Source: Flight International