Since 2021, One Air has been trying to obtain an Air Operator Certificate, which is the license to operate as a cargo airline. The coveted approval has now been reached – and work can begin with the only still active British-flagged supercargo ship.
British record identifies three 747s remaining
Strictly speaking, three Boeing 747s are still currently on Great Britain’s aircraft registry: The 747-400 with registration C-CIVJ (serial number 25817) was part of the national British Airways fleet until recently. But the airline no longer flies this model. The G-CIVJ has been decommissioned at Cotswold Airport in Kemble since 7 April 2020, and the machine built in 1997 lost its airworthiness in September.
The 19-year-old freighter with G-CLBA registration is also no longer in the air. The jumbo flew for CargoLocicAir, which was forced to file for bankruptcy in November 2022. So a change of ownership of the aircraft is planned.
Jumbo old man for freight business
That leaves the jumbo that One Air will fly in the future: G-UNET is 31 years old and was originally in service with Air Canada before being converted in 2006 for cargo purposes. Since then, the aircraft has been flown by China Airlines Cargo, ACT Airlines, and Air CargoGlobal.
The former AeroTransCargo freighter ER-BBB (serial number 25075) was taken over by London-based Air One Aviation and re-registered as G-UNET last month. The Boeing 747 is believed to be the first UK registered jumbo jet powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.
Air One Aviation organizes global charter services for freight forwarders, logistics service providers and charter brokers with Boeing 747 and 737 freighters and represents international freight companies as an agency. CEO Paul Bennett is also the chairman of startup One Air, which acquired the 747 through a one-off lease. According to his own statements, the president of the company is also the majority owner of the young airline.
The airline had already acquired the aircraft, a converted 747-400 into a freighter, via an off-lease lease in 2022 and used it to carry out certification flights for its Air Operator Certificate. For the past month, the jumbo has been flying regularly between Shannon and Cardiff.
One Air is anticipating initial demand for flights from the UK to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In addition, the company will also provide cargo flights to China and the United States.
The air cargo company employed a team of 90 air cargo and aviation professionals for its launch, which covers ground operations, engineering, maintenance, crew training, crew management, finance and human resources. It also employed 40 flight attendants and pilots recruited from Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Norwegian and other airlines.
One Air plans to purchase a second 747-400 later this year. One Air is also considering other types of aircraft in the future.
Paul Bennett stated: “The important role air cargo services have played in supporting the UK economy and the public during the pandemic has demonstrated the demand for a UK freight airline. We expect to be able to do so later this year by placing a second 747F in service and enjoy the financial resources to grow with demand.”
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