TransAustralian adds to fleet and two new freight airlines apply to enter market

Australia's air freight sector is to be boosted, with TransAustralian Air Express to expand and two cargo carriers to be launched.

TransAustralian, a subsidiary of operating lessor TransWorld Aircraft Leasing and Services, has recently increased its fleet to five Boeing 727-100/200 freighters for scheduled domestic overnight express services and domestic and international charters. It will add two more leased -200Fs this month.

Group managing director Tony Griffin says the aircraft mainly operate scheduled domestic services on behalf of Australian Air Express (AAE), Australia's largest overnight express packages carrier, owned by Australia Post and Qantas.

TransAustralian was previously known as Transasian Air Express, operating one 727-200F for Ansett Australia. That work began early in 2001, but ended when Ansett collapsed in September 2001. Its fleet now comprises four -200Fs and one 727-100F. Last month the company agreed to acquire two more 727s on lease from DHL's European Air Transport, but is looking at replacement options.

Griffin says noise restrictions will prevent the aircraft from operating in Australia after 31 December 2005. The Boeing 757-200 freighter is being considered.

Two new cargo carriers are meanwhile seeking to launch freighter services from Australia.

TransPac Express plans to operate from Brisbane and Sydney to New Caledonia from January and later to other South Pacific island states, such as the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Using a wet-leased Boeing 737-300QC, the airline also plans passenger services to Pacific islands as well as domestically between Norfolk Island and Sydney.

New entrant Pacific Rim Airways has applied for rights to operate Boeing 747 freighters on up to four services a week between Australia and the USA. Freight capacity between the two countries is unlimited and Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC) is due to meet on 25 November to consider the application.

Source: Flight International