Hello Airlines Bangladesh welcomes its first ATR 72-200 Freighter

Hello Airlines, a Bangladesh-based cargo carrier has added its first ATR 72-200 F aircraft to its fleet. The aircraft added will be operated under NXT Air, the start-up and new brand of Hello Airlines.

The cargo carrier took the delivery of the aircraft on dry lease from ACIA Aero. The aircraft is painted in all white-livery and was shuttled on June 12, 2021. ZS-XCM registered ATR 72 was first operated by Delta Connection Atlantic Southeast Airlines on 6 August 1994. It was delivered to Air Contractor in 2009 and then ferried to ASL Airlines in 2015. Since 2017, Avions de Transport Regional turboprop was operated by South African airlines, Solenta Aviation. Depicting its long history, the aircraft is now 27.3 years old. The aircraft has yet to be positioned into the revenue stream for Hello Airlines. The new registration for this airplane hasn’t yet been publicized.

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Hello Airlines ATR42
Hello Airlines ATR42, Photo by Siamoon Siam Ayon

The Chief Executive of NXT Air, Nizam Ahmad revealed the reason behind the delivery of the new ATR 72 freighter. He said that this new addition will support the business growth of the airline as well as its business partners. The airline aims to explore new revenue opportunities given the chaotic situation induced by the coronavirus pandemic in aviation and build a positive long-term partnership with ACIA.

ACIA Aero is the provider of regional aircraft leasing that offers sales and leaseback, finance, and operates lease services to the airlines and aircraft investors. ACIA, in addition to scheduled airline operators and long-term charters/ACMI Operators, provides dry lease solutions to the freighter operators. Currently, freighter aircraft is a growing area of the aviation portfolio.

Hello Airlines currently has a single ATR42-300 QC in its fleet. According to the ch-aviation report, the query regarding whether NXT Air is a standalone company or the promotional brand of Hello Airlines remains unknown.

Prospects for freighter operation in the present condition

Coronavirus pandemic led to the starvation of passenger skies as the countries around the world imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions to curb the pandemic spread. However, the aviation industry witnessed the strange sight as the airlines jetted into the near-deserted airports. The crucial need for cargo capacity to transport PPEs, medical supplies, and time-sensitive goods helped to prevent the financial crisis for many airlines since most of the passenger flights were halted. The freighter operations have never been more critical for airlines to survive and run the global supply chains.  The passenger aircraft converted themselves to freighter jets and filled their cabins with cardboard boxes instead of passenger seats.

As the pandemic waves dented the passenger demand in both domestic and international markets, freighters came to beat the blues in airline markets. A massive shift towards online purchasing and supply of urgent shipments have increased the prospect for freighter operation in present condition, given the air cargo cornering a major share in the aviation industry.

About Hello Airlines

Hello Airlines is an airline dedicated to the transport of cargo headquartered in Baridhara, Dhaka. It started its flight operations in 2017, 4 years after its founding in 2012. The main hub of Hello Airlines is Shahjalal International Airport. The carrier provides cargo services in both domestic and international sectors with its ATR 42-300 QC aircraft. The airline took the delivery of its ATR 42 aircraft in March 2016. The aircraft is 28.5 years old. The parent company of Hello Airlines is the IPSSL group. At present, three cargo airlines are operating in Bangladesh besides Hello Airlines. They are Bismillah Airlines, Easy Fly Express, and SkyAir.

Hello Airlines Bangladesh ATR42
Photo by Asif Hossain

About ATR 72-200 aircraft

ATR 72-200 aircraft is the combination of flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and versatility.

The aircraft is cost-effective for Hello Airlines because of its easy maintenance and low operating costs. It has high fuel efficiency as compared to other regional jets. ATR 72-200 is versatile because it can serve the airports with short runways that are unpaved and less than 1000 meters. The aircraft uses state-of-art technology compliant with future CNS/ATM systems and helps to offset the greenhouse gas emissions with its cost-efficient technology.

ATR 72-200 freighter is equipped with LCD modules and facilitates the loading of bulky consignments or containers. NXT Air can utilize the flexible, multipurpose cargo platform for the shipment of ULD, pallets, heavy cargo, etc. it has a large cargo door that is hydraulically actuated and installs viewports for the verification of locked latches.  NXT Air’s first ATR 72-200 Freighter has a better performance and higher payload to ensure the timely transportation of cargo shipments.  

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