Blue Dart to switch Boeing 737s with B757SFs

Mumbai: Chennai-based airfreight company, Blue Dart Aviation, will replace its four ageing Boeing 737 cargo aircraft with Boeing 757s in a move aimed at augmenting carrying capacity without increasing its fleet size of seven aircraft. 
 
The company has already inducted a 757 freighter, its seventh aircraft, from DHL Expresses' European Air Transport.

DHL Express holds an 81 per cent stake in Blue Dart. 
 
Tushar Jani, chairman, Blue Dart Aviation, said, "We cannot increase our fleet size because of lack of parking space at airports and hence will replace the Boeing 737 with Boeing 757." 
 
The company says it intends to have a mix of leased and owned 757-200 SF (special freighters). The change of aircraft models will boost carrying capacity by 32 per cent, from 148 tonnes to 196 tonnes by the end of 2011. 
 
A Boeing 737 carries 16 tonnes of freight, against 28 tonnes for a B757.

Company executives said the move would help improve aircraft utilisation due to increased flying hours and also aid in starting international operations. 
 
Towaqrds this end, the company is working closely with parent DHL Global Aviation to check if its aircraft can fly to international destinations.

Blue Dart is currently the domestic market leader, specialising in time-definite scheduled freight services for overnight next day delivery of express and cargo loads.

The company said that it would meet the costs of its purchase through internal accruals. At current rates, a Boeing 757-200 SF (special freighter) costs about $80-85 million.

Blue Dart has posted a growth of 21 per cent for gross revenues of Rs811 crore during the year-ended 31 December 2007, compared to Rs668 crore in the previous year.