US - NORWALK, Conn., April 26, 2012 -- Southern Air Holdings, Inc. has announced that it has taken ownership of its fourth 777F, considered the world's largest and most advanced twin-engine freighter, at Boeing headquarters in Everett, Washington. Southern Air, with a pedigree stretching back sixty five years, is the only ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) operator to fly the 777F, enabling it to serve customers with fewer stops, shorter cargo delivery times and lower handling costs. These freighters offer the most cargo capacity and longest flight times in the industry, making it possible to connect intercontinental markets overnight.
The new aircraft will be immediately inducted into service for DHL Express on the shipper's new round-the-world service from Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Leipzig, Germany and back to Hong Kong. The new route reduces shipping time from Asia-Pacific and the U.S. West Coast to one day and extends cargo pick-up times for U.S. suppliers shipping to Europe. Southern Air's third 777F began flying this route earlier this month, and its first two have flown the Cincinnati-Bahrain-Hong Kong route for DHL since September 2011.
Over the last two years, Southern Air has embarked upon an aggressive transformation from a pure 747-200 airline with an average fleet age of 33 years to a highly reliable, fuel efficient fleet of 777Fs and 747SFs, with plans to introduce several 747-400F factory freighters by 2013. By the end of next year, the Company is targeting an average fleet age of less than 7 years. In total, Southern Air's fleet currently includes fourteen 777s and 747s designed for global long-haul cargo shipments. Southern Air has been flying the 777F since 2010 and the latest aircraft is painted, like the first three, in combined DHL and Southern Air livery, as per our photo. Dan McHugh, President and CEO of Southern Air, commented:
"The 777 is the largest, most environmentally advanced wide-body freighter in the world. As the only ACMI operator to fly this aircraft, Southern Air is able to help our customers reduce fuel costs by as much as 25 percent on global routes, savings that make a significant difference in supply chain costs. Our fourth 777 solidifies our position among the worlds most efficient and reliable cargo carriers."