06/14/2011

Europe Airpost yellow aircraft

A Boeing 737, painted bright yellw and which can very rapidly be converted from passenger to cargo aircraft, dropped in at Geneva yesterday. An important package or a passenger?


The aircraft concerned, with French registration F-GIXE, belongs to a company called Europe Airpost, which is in turn part of the ASL Aviation Group. According to the web site of its owner, it is one of several "Quick Change" Boeing 737-300 aircraft owned by them. This description is given because the company claims that it can be operated as a charter passenger plane during the day, then be converted rapidly into a cargo plane to fly overnight. The claim, backed up by a video, is that a 3-person team can change between the two modes in just 20 minutes.

Slightly to my surprise, the flight of this aircraft was registered on the airport arrivals and departures board. According to that information, the aircraft was flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Porto. The fact that its flight callsign did not change between its arrival and its departure suggests that Geneva was just a stopover on a passenger flight.

According to information on the airframes.com site, this company was formed in 1992 by La Poste, started its own operations in 1999 and then took over part of the operations of Aeropostale (ARP). Just like our Swiss PTT, the aircraft of the company are painted bright yellow.

A check over the past three years shows that the company operated 11 such flights to Geneva  in 2009 (though not necessarily the same origin and destination!) but just two last year. This one is the first of this year.

So that bright yellow object in the sky is not a flying Swiss PTT car!

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