Shahe Ouzounian/LONDON

Transafrik International, the Angola-based all-cargo charter operator, is undertaking a major fleet expansion with the acquisition of five Lockheed L-100-30 Commercial Hercules freighters from US operator Southern Air Transport (SAT).

The aircraft, built between 1966 and 1968, will all be delivered to the airline's Luanda base by the middle of August, along with a major package of spares and engines. The deal will boost the carrier's Hercules fleet to 10, including two ex-SAT aircraft bought from a lessor last year. It also operates a leased military Lockheed Martin C-130.

Transafrik, Africa's largest private charter airline, has operated a small fleet of Hercules for a decade, alongside McDonnell Douglas DC-8s and Lockheed Electra freighters. It is now standardising on the Lockheed airlifter and its five Boeing 727-100 freighters.

The fleet is dedicated to commercial charters within Angola, which is emerging from two decades of civil war, and other parts of Africa. There are also long-term leases to relief organisations and UN peacekeeping operations.

SAT now has 10 L-100s, although some are in storage and other disposals are likely soon.

Having returned four DC-8-70 freighters to lessors earlier this year, SAT now plans to focus almost exclusively on Boeing 747 freighter operations on behalf of major international carriers through wet-lease contracts. Five 747-200Fs are in use, and three more aircraft will be acquired from Cargolux in July and August, all to be wet-leased back to the Luxembourg cargo carrier.

Source: Flight International