Start-up cargo carrier Southern Air has won US Department of Transportation approval to begin operations, but will have to do so without routes from bankrupt Southern Air Transport (SAT). Services will begin next year.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company plans to offer aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) wet-lease services initially, using a Boeing 747-200 freighter acquired from Lufthansa Cargo. Southern Air was formed in March and includes several former SAT executives (Flight International, 4-10 August).

Southern Air had been seeking the transfer of SAT's international route authority, but rival carrier Kitty Hawk opposed the application, claiming that Southern is asking the DoT to transfer SAT's authority to a new airline that had yet to be granted an operating certificate.

Polar Air Cargo expects to receive SAT's dormant USA-Colombia all-cargo authority.

The DoT decided to award Southern Air new operating certificates, and cancel all certificate and exemption authority held by defunct SAT, allowing other US carriers to bid for them.

Source: Flight International