Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has agreed to purchase three B757-200 aircraft, modified for combi main-deck cargo and passenger service, from National Air Cargo Group.
ATSG said its aircraft leasing subsidiary, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), expects to take delivery the first aircraft this month, and the other two in early 2013.
Joe Hete, president and CEO of ATSG, said, “The purchase of these three 757 combis from National, plus the one 757 combi we already own, will complete our commitment to replace our four DC-8 combis with more modern fuel-efficient aircraft that better meet the requirements of our principal combi customer, the U.S. Military’s United States Transportation Command.”
ATSG’s airline subsidiary, Air Transport International (ATI), is the sole combi service provider to USTRANSCOM. The 757 combis have a 34 percent lower fuel burn than the DC-8s they will replace, yet have the same number of cargo pallet positions and can carry 10 more passengers. Along with the three aircraft, CAM is also purchasing a spare 757-200 engine and some ancillary aircraft equipment from National.
As part of its fleet modernization program, prior to ATI’s latest combi contract award from USTRANSCOM that took effect in October 2012, CAM purchased a Boeing 757-200 for combi conversion. That aircraft is undergoing FAA certification testing, and should enter into USTRANSCOM service early next year. All three of the National combis were designed and modified to meet or exceed the same FAA and USTRANSCOM requirements, including ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification essential for service to remote USTRANSCOM destinations.
When the DC-8s are retired, ATSG’s fleet will consist entirely of 757-200, 767-200 and 767-300 aircraft, all of which require only two crewmembers, and which share a common pilot type rating.
“This purchase of the National 757 combi aircraft further enhances our position as the world’s largest independent provider of modern, fuel-efficient mid-sized cargo aircraft to customers around the world,” Hete said.