The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted National Airlines international passenger-charter authority, allowing the cargo airline to expand its operation into passenger service.
National Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Air Cargo Holdings. Founded in 1985, National Airlines currently operates three intercontinental-range, 45-ton-capacity McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63CF and DC-8-71F freighters. It is based in Ypsilanti, MI and until now has operated purely as a cargo carrier, offering scheduled and on-demand cargo charter services.
“This authority represents a very significant milestone in National’s two-track strategy to augment and modernize our already substantial international cargo-carrying capacity with market-leading international passenger charter operations,” says Steven Harrison, president of National Airlines. “Ours is an ambitious plan, and I’m extremely proud of our team’s world-class performance in safely bringing it closer to fruition.”
The passenger-charter authority – approved by the White House – comes in the form of a foreign charter certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by Susan L. Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, to National Air Cargo Group, Inc. d/b/a National Airlines. The order authorizes National to engage in foreign charter air transportation of persons, property and mail in addition to the domestic and international all-cargo services it has offered for 25 years.
National Airlines is now undergoing FAA certification for Boeing 757-200 passenger operations. The airline says that when it completes this FAA certification, it plans to offer worldwide passenger charter services with 757-200s.
The newly outfitted cabin of National’s first 757 has 152 extended-comfort coach seats and 12 business-class seats. National says the effort represents the next step of an ambitious business plan which will see the carrier augment its DC-8 fleet with worldwide 747-400 freighter operations, 757-200 passenger services and 757 -200 Combi flights (using an aircraft with 10 pallet positions and 46 passengers).
National says it will offer à-la-carte catering choices providing flexible business or leisure cuisine for its intercontinental passenger-charter service. For more information, visit www.nationalairlines.aero.
Parent company National Air Cargo has provided freight-forwarding services for military and industrial customers since 1991. The company offers airlift operations with appropriate aircraft, offering payload options ranging from 4 tons to 250 tons. For more information, visit www.nationalaircargo.com.