ASL Airlines Australia Inducts First B737-800 Freighter

An ASL Airlines Australia freighter is loaded on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: ASL Aviation Holdings

ASL Airlines Australia (ASLA) recently inducted its newest addition: a Boeing 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF).

ASLA is the Australian subsidiary of global leader ASL Aviation Holdings. The aircraft, registered VH-CYK, is the first of its kind certified to operate in Australia.

First Australian Certification

This next-generation freighter boasts impressive capabilities, solidifying ASLA’s position as a flexible air cargo provider.

The B737-800BCF is capable of handling a payload of up to 23.9 tonnes (52,900 pounds). It offers ample space for both express parcels and larger cargo on its main deck.  This spans 5,000ft³, and can accommodate 12 pallets, as well as a bulk cargo hold of 1,500ft³.

With a range of 3,750 kilometers (2,025 nautical miles), the aircraft can support efficient cargo operations across both Australia’s domestic and international markets.

Recent AOC Approval

The arrival of the 737-800 freighter marks the culmination of a year-long project. Following the successful delivery of VH-CYK in February 2024, ASLA obtained its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) variation from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in March.

CASA oversight then ensured a smooth proving flight in April, paving the way for commercial freight operations.

ASLA is actively engaging with potential customers to capitalize on the unique capabilities of the B737-800BCF.

An ASL Airlines Australia freighter is loaded on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: ASL Aviation Holdings

This freighter represents the first of its kind within the ASLA fleet, and the airline anticipates further expansion to cater to growing customer demands.

This particular aircraft is part of a larger B737-800 conversion program undertaken by ASL Aviation Holdings.

The program encompasses 40 aircraft slated for conversion and deployment across ASL’s airlines in Ireland, France, Belgium, Thailand, India, and now, Australia.

Acquisition by ASL Aviation Holdings

Previously known as Pionair Australia, ASLA was acquired by ASL Aviation Holdings in 2023. The airline transitioned to its current branding later that year.

Currently, ASLA utilizes BAe146 aircraft for night freight services on Australia’s east coast. This services major cities like Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns.

These operations are conducted for Qantas Freight on behalf of prominent clients such as FedEx and Australia Post.

ASL Aviation Holdings, a dominant force in global aviation services, boasts a fleet of 160 aircraft serving over 150 airports worldwide.

The holding company oversees eight cargo and passenger airlines operating in Europe, Australia, Asia, and South Africa.

Notably, ASL Aviation Holdings holds the distinction of being the world’s largest B737 freighter operator, specializing in express overnight freight for industry giants like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Amazon.

The B737-800BCF surpasses its predecessor, the B737-400 Classic, in terms of payload capacity, speed, and range.

Furthermore, it demonstrates a commitment to sustainability with its superior fuel efficiency and 15% lower carbon emissions, aligning with ASLA’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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