DHL Express has announced it will transform its European airline operations with the United Kingdom's DHL Air (D0, East Midlands) transitioning into a long-haul specialist with a fleet of B767-300F and B777-200F freighters, while all of its B757 freighters will be transferred to a new carrier named DHL Air (Austria) (DHA, Vienna).

The logistics firm said the Austrian start-up has already begun its certification drive and hopes to complete it in time to launch by year-end. The new company, which will be headquartered near Vienna airport, will not affect DHL's existing European network.

"Flight plans and operational network (hubs/gateways) will not be affected by this more legal and administrative change," a DHL spokesman confirmed to ch-aviation.

DHL Air Austria will take over all B757 freighters from DHL Air and run intra-European flights. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the British unit currently has eighteen B757-200(PCF)s and five B757-200(SF)s in its fleet.

Once the B757s are moved to the new unit, DHL Air will consolidate its operations around the long-haul market. It will therefore add more B767-300Fs to its current fleet of three. In 2022, DHL Air will also induct its first B777-200F out of ten on order by DHL International. The logistics firm did not specify DHL Air's target fleet size. Of the ten B777-200Fs DHL has on order, two are currently scheduled to deliver in 2021 and a further three in 2022.

At the end of the transformation, DHL Air will remain based out of East Midlands but will predominantly serve North American and Asian markets.

DHL Express's in-house airlines also include Germany's EAT Leipzig, Bahrain's DHL International Aviation Middle East, Panama's DHL Aero Expreso, Trans Am Aero Express del Ecuador, DHL de Guatemala, and India's Blue Dart Aviation. The logistics firm is also a 50% shareholder in AeroLogic, a joint venture with Lufthansa Group, and a minority shareholder in Venezuela's Vensecar Internacional.