Star Air is a key independent airline support operator on the African continent. It incorporates Star Air Cargo and Star Air Maintenance as separate entities. The business focusses on aircraft leasing, including aircraft with crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) charter, and cockpit and crew training for its own operations.

STAR AIR CARGO BEGAN as a small charter operator in the early nineties. The business grew using light aircraft for scenic flights and overnight cargo runs. It originally operated piston aircraft to operate courier freight and carry small high value or time sensitive cargo (hence the Cargo name) for DHL Express and other companies. Typically, an early client was the Sunday Independent newspaper, which flew newspapers from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in a Piper Aztec.

The company’s first heavy jet was acquired in 2002: a Boeing 737-200, ZS-OWM. This aircraft, along with a Dornier 228, was placed on contract in East Africa.

During the decline of the Rand against the US Dollar at the start of the millennium, some of the founding business partners divested, leaving Peter Annear to build the company into its present size by leasing five Boeing 737s. These include two series-200s and three ‘Classics’. The current fleet consists of six Boeing 737-300 freighters and two 737-300s for passenger operations. The passenger aircraft can be tailored to the client’s needs by configuring the seating to all economy or a combination of economy and business class. The Boeing fleet is equipped with integral stairs, minimising ground handling costs and requirements and making the aircraft far more flexible for remote African operators.

‘can cost up to $150 000 per gear leg’

For contracts that are six months or longer, Star Air can brand the aircraft for customers to maintain uniformity between their fleet and leased aircraft.

Star Air supplies aircraft with full Aircraft Maintnenace Crew and Insurance leases.

In June 2019, Star Air Cargo was acquired by Comair, who agreed to pay U$5.14 million to acquire the group. However it was realised that the acquisition by Comair would adversely affect Star Air’s ability to be a truly independent supplier of service to all airlines. And then, due to the financial constraints imposed on Comair by the COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent business rescue process, the Comair deal was cancelled in October 2020.

Star Air Cargo values its independence and has a variety of quality clients. At various times they have supplied: Rwandair, Air Botswana, Air Malawi, Air Tanzania, LAM Mozambique Airlines, Air Namibia, SA Express, Mango and Airlink. The company holds its own A1 charter license and employs 16 full time cockpit crew and 16 full time cabin staff.

CEO Peter Annear is also a type rated 737 captain and remains a keen general aviation pilot with a Mooney Ovation.

Boeing 737-300 Cargo Aircraft available for wet (ACMI) lease.Based at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg South Africa.

Contact: yvonne@starcargo.co.za or peter@starcargo.co.za Tel: +27 11 234 7038 www.starair.co.za

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