The United Kingdom once again has a Boeing 747 operator. Startup cargo carrier One Air is bringing its converted Boeing 747-400 freighter to the skies above Britain as it confirms the UK Civil Aviation Authority has awarded it its Air Operators’ Certificate.
The new British cargo airline successfully completed its proving flights with the aircraft in July 2022. Following a rigorous application process, its Operating Licence is now fully approved to commence operations, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed to Simple Flying this afternoon. One Air expects initial demand for flights from the UK to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The ultimate objective is to offer freighter services to China and the US.
Who is One Air?
Headquartered in Kingston, close to London Heathrow Airport, One Air has reportedly dry leased its first Boeing 747-400 freighter from Aerotranscargo. The Moldovian cargo company is believed to be one of the startup’s main commercial partners. According to the airline’s business plan, the 31-year-old plane is set to be joined by a second B747-400 this year.
One Air has now collected a team of 90 air cargo and aviation professionals for launch. The staff includes workers in ground operations, engineering and maintenance, crew training, crew management, finance, and HR specialists. The company recruited forty people, including Cathay Pacific, Emirates Airlines, and Norwegian Airlines pilots, to join its aircrew team. One Air’s CEO, Paul Bennett, expressed his excitement at the announcement:
“The important role freighter services played in supporting the UK economy and the public throughout the pandemic demonstrated the level of demand which exists for a British cargo airline. We are proud to be meeting this need and to have the opportunity to leverage longstanding business relationships with freight forwarders, logistics providers, and charter brokers serving the UK market.
“We expect to add our second 747F later this year and have the financial resources to grow in line with the level of demand we see.”
The airline will review its fleet plans later in the year, including the potential for other aircraft types.
Where did the aircraft come from?
The Boeing 747-400 took its first flight on July 24th, 1991. The aircraft flew for Air Canada under the registration C-GAGN for 13 years before undergoing its conversion to a freighter at the beginning of 2005. The freighter was then leased by various airlines, including Air China Cargo and Saudi Arabian Airlines (now Saudia), before arriving at Aerotranscargo in 2020.
One Air’s Boeing 747 is now the only aircraft of this family active in the UK. There are believed to be three more units registered in the country that are not currently flying. The One Air freighter was last spotted at Cardiff Airport in Wales after making two brief hops to Shannon on Thursday, April 20th.
Who is on the One Air team?
The airline also welcomes Chris Hope as Chief Operating Officer and Accountable Manager. Hope was previously responsible for the entire easyJet operation at Gatwick. His responsibilities included preparing for the UK’s exit from the European Union and establishing new AOCs in the UK and EU. Before joining One Air, Hope spent two years as Chief Operating Officer for Flybe. According to Hope, the new airline will be a catalyst for new jobs:
“I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to join the leadership team behind this exciting new venture. One Air has a forward-thinking and customer-centric approach and we will use our entrepreneurial spirit and resources to grow sustainably. We will be supporting British businesses and the UK economy, starting with the 90 direct jobs in our own organisation and the countless secondary jobs we are creating with our partners and suppliers.
“Over the past two years, the cargo market in the UK has clearly shown resilience in the face of unprecedented disruption to the aviation industry. Now the industry is entering a new phase of recovery and growth and we look forward to being at the heart of this,”
The airline’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Technical Officer are Jon Hartley and David Tattersall, respectively. Hartley has over 25 years of experience across several business sectors, and Tattersall comes from senior executive roles at major airlines, including British Airways, Brymon Airways, and Flybe.
Source: ch-aviation, Air Cargo News, STAT Times