CMA CGM Air Cargo seeks French air cert to create ‘real airline’
FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM has decided to buy four A350 freighters to be delivered after 2025 so to create “real airline” in France, reports London’s Loadstar.CMA CGM’s four operational A330-200Fs are flown by Air Belgium, but the shipping giant is applying for a French aircraft operating certificate, and has hired some 50 pilots “who will join in coming weeks”.The line also announced in September an order for two B777 freighters, which will arrive in spring next year. The A350 freighter, not yet launched, with CMA’s order, is second after Air Lease Corporation’s pledge to buy seven planes, seen as a direct competitor to the 777F. But the A350F could have 11 per cent more capacity than the 777F – and the fewer the aircraft types in a fleet, the better the economies of scale. The move to become an airline could also lead to questions over whether CMA CGM will continue to use French cargo sales specialist ECS to fill its aircraft – or whether it will become its subsidiary Ceva’s in-house airline, much like Panalpina had its own controlled network, Loadstar observed. According to one senior air cargo source, some forwarders and other air freight capacity buyers have been reluctant to use the carrier, citing its links to Ceva, as well as ECS. The close link between the air cargo arm and Ceva was highlighted in CMA CGM’s press release, which noted alongside its aircraft order that Ceva had acquired Cargex, a Colombian perishables fowarder. CMA CGM Air Cargo last month shelved its Dubai World Central service which had sea-air potential, because, according to one source, it could generate better revenues with its aircraft elsewhere.