HeavyLift Cargo Airlines, and Hunting Cargo are working towards the introduction of widebodied freighters later this year to meet possible express-parcels carriers' requirements and their own needs.

HeavyLift is finalising plans to introduce two Airbus A300B4 freighters this year, while Hunting says that it is considering the acquisition of "several" widebodies. The carriers are seeking crews, but are yet to conclude any lease deals.

Stansted, UK-based HeavyLift is working towards the creation of its own A300 freighter programme, and is also a bidder in a competition to provide aircraft under wet-lease for DHL International's European operations (Flight International, 30 April- 6 May, P4).

The US leasing companies C-S Aviation Services and Pinnacle Aircraft Leasing are putting A300s through conversion at British Aerospace and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa), respectively, and Graham Pearce, HeavyLift's commercial director, says that availability and certification, as well as the "best deal", will dictate the choice.

"We plan to add the first of two aircraft from June/July 1997 for our own programme," he says.

"Neither Dasa Airbus nor British Aerospace has completed the US Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certificate [STC] process yet," says Pearce. "This is preventing us from finalising a source," he adds.

He adds that the airline has also looked at A300C4 convertible freighters being offered for lease.

Hunting Cargo Airlines has close ties to DHL, and is in talks about the new requirement. "We are looking to provide some or all of the widebodies required by DHL," says Steve Guynan, Hunting's commercial manager, "and are in discussion with other parties."

Channel Express, launch customer for BAe's A300 freighter conversion, is also understood to be in talks with DHL regarding the wet-lease contract as it waits for BAe to receive its FAA STC.

Source: Flight International