Nascent cargo airline, CargoLogic Germany has made progress on its bid to obtain an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), after recently gaining preliminary certification. The full AOC is expected in a matter of months.
The Leipzig-based, carrier has granted non-commercial Part-NCC operations approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The airline will now begin ‘route proving flights’, a procedure that is required for new carriers by the regulator before an AOC is issued.
The airline first applied to the German Federal Aviation Authority (LBA) for an operating license in November 2017. The new carrier aims to tap the rapidly growing express market in Europe thanks to the growth of e-commerce. The carrier already has two B737-400 P2F conversions ready and waiting to take off. Three more of the same aircraft type are due in the coming months.
Some in the industry have raised questions over where the airline is effectively owned and c controlled from, because of its purported ownership and management links to Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group.
Particularly outspoken about the apparent non-EU backing and control of the carrier is Lufthansa, who cite the fact effective ownership and control of an airline must be within the European Union for an EU AOC.
Speaking in Frankfurt in March, Peter Gerber, chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo commented on the issue saying: “I believe, for the moment, it’s difficult to get an AOC because you need to be European and it needs to be European controlled, this is what European laws say.
“If it really is an AirBridgeCargo subsidiary, that in itself contradicts the laws because it’s controlled by ABC and they can’t get a European Union AOC. One side of this is ownership and the other side is control. When it’s controlled by ABC then it’s not possible to get an AOC, that’s what European laws say.
“If it’s different then, we’ll have to look at it,” he says adding that, “when the requirements of the laws are met, it’s fine. We’re happy with every competition.
But he did add that Lufthansa will look closely at the decision when it is released and would, “look also at our legal possibilities”.
One of the key aspects is the fact the main shareholder in CargoLogic Germany, and likewise in the Volga-Dnepr Group – Alexei Isaykin – holds an EU passport from Cypress.