© Ivan Cholakov
© Ivan Cholakov

Fuel prices may be low, but depressed air cargo yields and volumes are hitting some of the smaller cargo airlines, according to anecdotal and legal evidence.

Miami-based carriers SkyLease and Centurion, along with owner Alfonso Rey, received a court summons filed on Monday, alleging minimum wage violations.

The lawsuit claims that Mr Rey and CFO Marcos Montesano “made operational decisions with regard to company finances, made decisions to maintain operations in light of financial hardship, made decisions not to reduce the labour force or scale back operations to free up capital, which would have enabled the company to make payroll rather than continue operating and paying its employees sporadically several days after the companies’ established payroll dates”.

Reportedly, pilots are also claiming not to have been paid on time, and it appears that a significant number have resigned recently.

The plaintiff in the court case, Jose Molieri, was hired as both a security guard and IT specialist, and has requested the court allows other employees, subject to the same payroll practices, to opt into the case. If the company is found to have broken the Fair Labour Standards Act, it could prove expensive.

It is not the only case the carrier is defending. In February, Brazilian maintenance company took the Miami carriers to court, claiming they had failed to pay six instalments of a debt of nearly $900,000, which had been agreed in a settlement agreement in 2014. SkyLease/Centurion are contesting some of the allegations, and the case continues.

Meanwhile, while there have been rumours of impending trouble at Air Cargo Global, the Slovakian carrier which took on an aircraft from Air Cargo Germany, they appear to be unfounded.

The carrier’s two 747-400Fs are operating, while a source said the airline “all seems normal”. Yesterday, one aircraft flew from Brazzaville to Casablanca, while the other flew into Brussels Airport from Stuttgart on Saturday, just a few days after the terrorist attacks.

Speculation over the state of Global Africa Aviation, the phoenix airline to come out of AV Cargo and Avient before that, is also growing.

Pilots have reported that the three-strong fleet of MD-11Fs have not been to the hub at Liege for some time and, according to flight tracking websites, it looks as if Dubai is now their base. But at least two of the aircraft have been operating recently, to Erbil.

The carrier’s previous incarnation, AV Cargo, remains under a Company Voluntary Arrangement, with the latest annual reports filed in January. But Global Associated Aviation, the UK company which took over from AV, has no marks on its record at Companies House.

And sadly, as we noted yesterday, KF Aerospace bowed out of its Toronto-Brussels route after just 10 months, citing low demand, high capacity and low yields.

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