US’s Western Global Airlines secures fleet growth consent
Western Global Airlines (KD, Fort Myers Southwest Florida) is set to proceed with its fleet growth plans after the US Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed to remove restrictions on its fleet size. As previously reported, the Florida-based cargo carrier has been subject to DOT policy wherein new entrant air carriers’ fleet growth is restricted for the first five years of operations to give their key management and technical personnel experience in overseeing its operations. Operational since 2014, WGA was initially restricted to a fleet of four aircraft, which the DOT later raised to 19.
“The FAA has closely overseen and regulated Western Global’s fleet growth and has also informed us that the air carrier has conducted its operations satisfactorily and that it has no objection to the removal of the aircraft fleet restrictions imposed on Western Global,” the DOT said. Regarding finances, the DOT said that for calendar years 2018, 2019, and 2020, WGA had earned net income of USD48.4 million, USD15.9 million, and USD122.4 million, respectively, on USD253.56 million, USD241.15 million, and USD375.52 million in operating revenue, respectively. In addition, for the six months ended June 30, 2021, the carrier had generated a net income of USD28.7 million on USD190.97 million in operating revenue.
And although WGA’s balance sheet for the quarter ending June 30, 2021, showed it to have current assets of USD131.03 million against current liabilities of USD163.39 million, giving it a negative working capital of approximately USD32.37 million, it provided confirmation that it continues to have access to a USD47.5 million revolving line of credit with Truist Bank. “Western Global has sufficient financial resources to support its expanded operations, and its management and key technical personnel have the qualifications and expertise to oversee its expanded operations. Furthermore, we conclude that Western Global has proper regard for the laws and regulations governing its operations to ensure that its aircraft and personnel conform to applicable safety standards and that acceptable consumer relations practices will be followed,” the DOT said. “In consideration of the above, the department finds it appropriate to approve Western Global’s request to remove the aircraft fleet restriction imposed on its certificate authority.”
WGA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Global Airlines Holdings, Inc. (WGAH), a Delaware corporation formed on February 1, 2021. Ownership of WGAH is divided among members of the Neff family (62.5%), all of whom are US citizens, and the Western Global Employee Stock Ownership Trust with 37.5%. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, its fleet now numbers 20 aircraft, including two B747-400(BCF)s, one B747-400(BDSF), one B747-400(FSCD), and sixteen MD-11(F)s – including six recently acquired ex-Lufthansa Cargo (LH, Frankfurt Int’l) freighters.
In its initial DOT application, the carrier said it owned three aircraft solely as a source of spare parts with no intention of operating them.
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