Astral Aviation plans to become the first airline in Africa to operate cargo drones in order to provide access to remote parts of Africa.

By Damian Brett (Air cargo News) |

African cargo carriers Ethiopian Cargo and Astral Aviation have outlined their ambitious expansion plans as they look to capitalise on the growing marketplace.

Speaking at the Africa Air Cargo Summit in Addis Ababa, Astral Aviation chief executive Sanjeev Gadhia said the company hoped to add new Boeing 747 freighters and B737-400F to its fleet in the near future. There were also plans to add a new hub in West Africa and drones.

Gadhia said the company hoped to lease two B747s for international operations and to lease six B737s for intra-African use.

Astral currently operates one B747 on wet lease from Atlas Air while it does not operate any B737s.

On the sidelines of the conference, Gadhia told Air Cargo News that there was no timeline for the B747 orders because of the current dip in the air cargo market.

He said that being a private cargo airline meant it could be more flexible than legacy carriers and respond to opportunities as and when they come up.

The company also has plans to add new West and South African hubs to complement its current center in Nairobi.

The South Africa hub would be in Johannesburg while the West Africa operation would be in either Accra or Lagos.

“We don’t believe you can have a single hub for Africa. The continent is too big and the distances are too big,” he said. “You need to have a multi-hub strategy for Africa.”

Continue reading this story on Air Cargo News

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