Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Start-up cargo carrier Southern Air hopes to begin Boeing 747 freighter operations in September, using routes and assets acquired from bankrupt Southern Air Transport (SAT).

The Columbus, Ohio-based company plans to offer aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) wet-lease services initially, using an 18-year-old General Electric CF6-powered 747-200F acquired recently from Lufthansa Cargo. According to documents filed with the US Department of Transportation (DoT), a second leased 747 would be added after six months, and one or more aircraft in the second year of operations.

Southern has applied to the DoT for transfer of SAT's international route authority. US cargo carrier Kitty Hawk is opposing the application on the grounds that Southern is asking the DoT to transfer SAT's authority to a new airline that has yet to be granted an operating certificate.

Southern also wants the DoT to transfer SAT's authority once it has determined the new airline's financial fitness. Filings indicate the company's backers have pledged $3.4 million to cover the carrier's first three months of operations.

In its DoT filings, Southern argues that its application is unusual, but not unique, and cites previous examples of route transfers to non-operating companies. The company had been given a 30 July deadline to supply the DoT with additional information.

Southern was formed in March and includes several former SAT managers.

Source: Flight International