News From Air Cargo Industry
BREAKING NEWS +++ ACG Suspends Flights
Air Cargo Germany (ACG) has stopped all operations until further notice. No official reason is given by the cargo airline, but lack of funds can be suspected to have caused the grounding of the fleet.
Since Thursday, April 18, three of ACG’s four Boeing 747-400 freighters are sidelined at Rhine-Main airport, with the fourth unit currently undergoing maintenance and overhaul. It’s a sudden but not unexpected grounding of the carrier’s fleet. The airline has been struggling financially for quite some time, despite some capital injections by its Russian minority partner (49%) AirBridge Cargo. In a letter to the customers ACG’s management reacted by surprise, saying the following:

Dear Valued Customer,
It is with regret that I have to inform you that we will have a temporary interruption of our
services, effective today April 18th, 2013. The suddenness of this interruption is beyond our control and was neither expected nor foreseen in any way.
Our Shareholders are supporting in any way possible and you can be assured that we work around the clock to find sustainable solutions to recommence our services to you. Despite the surprise of this measure, we remain very confident that the operations can be resumed in the next few days.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. We will keep you informed on a timely basis with updates and solutions in the coming days. ACG will continue to provide its excellent service once this unhappy situation is resolved.
Yours faithfully,
Michael Schaecher

The privately-run German cargo airline commenced operations in mid-2009 connecting Frankfurt-Hahn airport with destinations in East and Central Asia. Later, routes to the Middle East, Africa and both South and North America followed. In spring 2012 AirBridge Cargo’s parent Volga-Dnepr stepped in as shareholder acquiring 49 percent of the capital shares. Shortly after ACG announced plans for upping the fleet by taking over two of AirBridge Cargo’s Boeing 747-400 freighters. However, these expansion plans were shelved before the year ended due to the ongoing sluggish global market situation and dwindling rates.  
Meanwhile the German regulator Luftfahrt-Bundesamt confirmed to CargoForwarder that ACG’s operating license has been suspended. The officials refer to the common rules for air operation services decided by the EU in September 2008 and applicable in this case, said a spokesperson of the LBA. The regulation (EC No 1008/2008) reads:

“The competent licensing authority may at any time assess the financial performance of a Community air carrier which it has licensed. Based upon its assessment, the authority shall suspend or revoke the operating licence if it is no longer satisfied that this Community air carrier can meet its actual and potential obligations for a 12-month period.”

For getting the operating license back from the national regulator ACG has basically three options: get fresh cash, reduce its costs sharply or conduct its flights profitable. However, the latter two alternatives will need time.

Please stay tuned.
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