Amerijet International (M6, Fort Lauderdale Int'l) is planning to significantly expand its fleet by the end of 2022 through the addition of its first B757 freighters as well as more B767 freighters, Chief Executive Tim Strauss told Air Cargo News.

By the end of next year, the Florida-based cargo specialist plans to operate 27 aircraft, including 19 for its in-house operations and eight under a CMI deal with DHL Express. It currently operates twelve aircraft, including four B767-200(BDSF)s, one B767-200(SF), and seven B767-300(ERBDSF)s, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. It also wet-leases a B727-200(F) from Gulf & Caribbean Cargo and two A321-200(P2F)s from Titan Airways. Four B767-200(BDSF)s are operated for DHL under an existing CMI contract.

Strauss said that going forward, Amerijet would focus on long-term CMI and ACMI contracts, rather than its own scheduled cargo services or ad-hoc cargo charters.

"We probably get 20 calls a day, and we say 'No' 20 times a day. We try to build relationships on ACMI and CMI," he said.

To ensure the reliability of its operations for DHL, the carrier does not use the B767s under contract with the logistics firm, for its own services even though it is formally allowed to do so.

Despite the focus on lease operations for future growth, Amerijet International will continue its existing scheduled services from its Miami Int'l hub to the Caribbean and Central America, as well as its only transatlantic scheduled route - to Brussels National. Strauss said that a large part of its scheduled network, particularly services to San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin in Puerto Rico and Brussels, were driven by demand from the pharmaceutical sector.

In the long term, the airline hopes to settle on a 75/25 split between ACMI/CMI and scheduled operations. It will also seek to add more e-commerce cargo to its pharmaceutical-driven operations through the growth of its freight forwarding arm.

"We should pick three or four destinations in the Caribbean and build an end-to-end system and own it all the way through. It’s an opportunity that’s on the radar. You really want that e-commerce top-off," Strauss said.