Air Belgium Reveals Its Airbus A330 Freighter Paint Scheme

In mid-February, we reported that global shipping giant CMA CGM was expanding its operations with the acquisition of four A330-200F (freighters). Coming from Qatar Airways’ Cargo and operating under Air Belgium’s AOC, the four jets will comprise the CMA CGM’s new air cargo division- aptly named “CMA CGM Air Cargo.” Yesterday we caught a glimpse of the operator’s new livery. Spoiler alert: It’s not very exciting or creative.

Air Belgium Reveals Its Airbus A330 Freighter Paint Scheme
The aircraft’s livery is extremely simple and basic, with the company’s logo on the tail and lettering across the side – all set on a plain white background. Photo: Base drawing by Norebbo.com

New livery revealed yesterday

On February 26th, the first CMA CGM A330-200F was revealed with its new livery. With facilities located in Dublin, Ireland, the jet was photographed as it rolled out of the paint shop.

As you can see, this livery is not overly exciting, taking a much more practical approach as it very simply identifies the company it’s flying for. The aircraft’s paint scheme is a good demonstration of how much less important it is for a cargo operator to have a flashy livery – although CMA CGM certainly pushes this to the limit.

Ex-Qatar Airways, operated by Air Belgium

The A330 freighters are not a completely straightforward situation. The jets will actually be operated by Belgian airline Air Belgium under its Air Operators Certificate (AOC). The carrier is based out of Brussels South Charleroi Airport, but it has been reported that the freighters will be based out of Liege.

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The Dutch site Scramble reports that the plan is to launch flights from March 8th with Chicago-O’Hare as the first announced destination.

This arrangement with Air Belgium will allow CMA CGM access to the air cargo market much faster than if it had to go through the full process of obtaining its own AOC.

Qatar A330-200F
The aircraft, previously registered as A7-AFI, was flying for Qatar Airways Cargo before the airline sold it to CMA CGM. Photo: John Taggart via Wikimedia Commons 

Indeed, the way CMA CGM is going about launching its cargo division is a great example of how quickly operations can commence.

The aircraft secured its freighters from the second-hand market, acquiring the used jets from Qatar Airways Cargo. By doing so, the company avoids having to join the queue of airlines and cargo operators waiting for brand new freighters from Airbus or Boeing. The company could have purchased used passenger jets and sourced its own conversion – but these services are also in demand and require time.

A new chapter for CMA CGM

With a presence in 160 countries through 755 agencies, 750 warehouses, 110,000 employees, and a vast fleet of 502 ships, CMA CGM already has a strong position in the cargo transportation market.

With demand for air cargo rising, the French firm hopes to expand its operations and capabilities further.

As per a company press release seen by Simple Flying, the CEO of CMA CGM offered the following statement:

“In response to the growing demand from our customers for agile logistics solutions, we are creating a new division within the CMA CGM Group dedicated to air transport: CMA CGM Air Cargo. This division will launch with four Airbus A330-200F aircraft and will leverage commercial partnerships with airlines in order to deliver global coverage. This is a major milestone in the development of our logistics services” –Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group

Do you have an opinion on this new livery? Let us know in the comments.

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