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US green-lights Bermuda VIP airline for cargo operations

Longtail Aviation flies wealthy people on its private charter jet. Now, it's getting into the cargo business. (Photo: Longtail Aviation)

The U.S. Department of Transportation this week granted authority to operate a Boeing 747 cargo plane to a Bermuda-based company whose business model is private jet charter services for VIPs.

Longtail Aviation International has acquired a jumbo jet freighter to transport personal protective equipment to locations in the U.S. and other parts of the world, according to the company’s application. The gear is still in high demand to help populations cope with the spread of the novel coronavirus and has stressed the airfreight system to its limits at times, soaking up a large chunk of the available freighter capacity.

The airline, founded in 2003, has a single Boeing 737-700 for its private jet charter service but is branching out to the cargo market to take advantage of the market opportunity.

Longtail is leasing the 747 freighter from Aquiline International Corp., based in the United Arab Emirates.

A month ago, the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority issued an operating certificate to Longtail for the B747, according to the company’s website. It is using software from CHAMP Cargosystems for calculating weight and balance for cargo operations.

The U.S. decision, which is good for one year, was based on the 1997 U.S.-U.K. Open Skies Agreement, since Bermuda is a British territory. 

Longtail representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment about their business plans.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]