DHL Expands Partnership with Solenta and ACIA Aero Leasing for Fleet Upgrade

Lessor to Convert Four ATR 72-500s into Large Cargo Door Freighters
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ACIA Aero Leasing and South Africa’s Solenta Aviation announced that the companies have further expanded their existing relationship with DHL Express.

As part of the expanded partnership, the world’s leading logistics company and international express delivery provider, which is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, agreed with ACIA to acquire and convert a fleet of four ATR 72-500 aircraft into Large Cargo Door (“LCD”) freighters and with Solenta, which runs the entire West Africa regional fleet on behalf of DHL Express, to operate these aircraft.

Mick Mooney, ACIA Aero Leasing CEO, asserted that “ACIA is exceptionally well positioned to deliver on this fleet renewal program for DHL Express alongside our partners at Solenta,” pointing out that “the companies will leverage the ACIA Group’s proprietary intellectual property for LCD freighter conversion, owned by IPR Conversions, and extensive experience in delivering converted freighters to airline customers on time.”

Paul Hurst, Solenta Aviation’s Managing Director, added that “we are delighted to join forces with ACIA again to expand our long-standing partnership with DHL Express during such an exciting time for the air cargo industry. The renewal of this partnership is a testament to our track record in operating this key part of DHL Express’ route network in these challenging jurisdictions.”

The first of the four upgraded freighters was converted by Springer Aerospace, based in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada, bringing the total number of ACIA aircraft in operation by DHL Express to nine. These aircraft are currently based in DHL hubs in Gabon, Togo, and the Ivory Coast and operated in the Latin American and African markets. The remaining three aircraft are scheduled for delivery between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

“This new mandate is about extending both of our companies’ already successful partnership with DHL Express, while converting more aircraft into freighters for which we see robust demand, particularly for turboprops,” added Mooney.

With more than 110 ATR converted freighters operating with various carriers around the world, the aircraft type has become the benchmark in the 5-to-9-ton category, particularly with ACIA Group’s proprietary cargo conversion Supplemental Type Certificate (“STC”). DHL Express will benefit from the ACIA converted freighters’ advantageous operating economics with low fuel burn and excellent dispatch reliability, conducive particularly to challenging airfields.

“We’re delighted to entrust ACIA and Solenta with this fleet upgrade,” stated Adriaan (Riaan) Vorster, Head of Aviation for DHL Express’ Sub-Sahara Africa region. “Solenta has been operating our West African route network for the best part of the past two decades, and we rely upon both companies’ experience and professionalism to uphold DHL Express’ most rigorous standards and expectations. We look forward to our continued long-term collaboration.”

According to ACIA, the ATR 72-500 conversion package is the optimal choice for operators focused on building flexible regional fleets that provides the ability to quickly adapt short-haul operations to the changing customer and supply chain requirements. ACIA currently has 25 ATR 72 family aircraft in its portfolio, including six of the -600 and 16 of the -500 variants. The aircraft are operated as passenger aircraft by Green Africa, Bestfly, and Pakistan International Airlines, and as freighters by Solenta, Silver Airways, and NXT Air.

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