Finnair Cargo flying high on ambition
But Järvinen does seem aware of the possibly frailties of the Finnair Cargo freighter network and is already planning a remedy.
“It will be quite easy for us to factor in a second freighter aircraft to our operation, and that is very likely to happen later this year,” he says.
He is referring to the unusual set-up Finnair has established to access its freighter capacity. Originally, the airline operated two MD-11Fs in its own right, which had been converted from the Finnish carrier’s passenger fleet.
But in an effort to offset direct operating costs, the airline sold the two aircraft, plus a spare engine to Miami-based private equity firm Neff Capital Management for a reported $56 million in 2010, with the intention that at least one aircraft would be leased back.
It was following this that the idea emerged of creating a separate cargo joint venture, which led in early 2011 to the launch of Nordic Global Airlines by Neff Capital Management, which had a year earlier been founded by Brian Neff, former president of Southern Air. Neff was to hold a 49 percent share in the new carrier, with Finnair retaining a 40 percent stake and Finnish pension fund Ilmarinen holding the remaining11 percent.
This provided for the company to be “owned” by Finns so that it could be granted a Finnish operating licence and enable valuable overflights of Russian airspace.
Nordic Global Airlines began operations in August 2011, with one aircraft leased to Finnair Cargo. It has since expanded its fleet to four MD-11Fs, with the latest acquired from EVA Air. The aircraft, it is understood, are mostly deployed on ACMI contracts.
Hence Juha Järvinen‘s confidence that he can access additional capacity on relatively short notice.