The past two years have been the most challenging in the entire history of aviation and yet, for one air cargo conglomeration, challenges are what it thrives and, literally, delivers on: Welcome to Challenge Group – Experts in international cargo solutions.
When you bring together experience, an extensive skill set capable of tackling any air cargo and aviation situation, and when defining individual, customer-centric solutions is in your company’s DNA, then adopting Challenge as your name and “Challenge Accepted” as your corporate slogan, is a very logical move.
It is also part of a major rebranding that has been underway ever since the Group embarked on its harmonised restructuring in 2020. So, who is Challenge Group?Headed by CEO, Yossi Shoukroun, the Group incorporates three airlines: CAL Cargo Airlines based in Israel, Challenge Airlines BE based in Belgium, Challenge Airlines MT and Challenge Air Cargo, the commercial arm of the Group, both based in Malta, its own ground handling company in Liege, Belgium: Challenge Handling, a strong European road feeder network out of Liege: Challenge Logistics, an aircraft and parts leasing division: Challenge Aviation, and a comprehensive line maintenance provider: Challenge Technic. The Group’s cargo airline experience dates back to its CAL Cargo Airlines’ beginnings in 1976, and its handling division (previously known as LACHS) was established in 1997. The other companies were founded over the course of the past six years. Malta-based Challenge Air Cargo is the latest addition and is due to commence operations this year.
Challenge Group’s core expertise in airfreight, handling, and logistics, has established it as a leading provider of reliable, integrated, and tailor-made, air-cargo door-to-door solutions. In fact, 65% of its business is non-standard cargo that requires innovative, industry-specific handling solutions: many of these have been for outsize freight shipments. One reason why, alongside a host of state-of-the-art and highly automated air cargo handling equipment and facilities, the Group is in possession of Europe’s largest 52-tonne high-loader, located in Liege. From temperature-sensitive shipments (IATA CEIV Pharma-certified in the air and on the ground), to dangerous goods, all the way through to live animals (Challenge Handling also manages the ultra-modern Horse Inn hotel, one of the finest in Europe, at Liege Airport: more than 250 horses passed through it to on their way to the Tokyo Olympics last year, for example); Challenge Group is trained, certified, and experienced in handling and flying all kinds of commodities.
Over the last four years, the company has trebled its capacity and now handles 300,000 tonnes of cargo per year, with an ambition to reach half a million tonnes annually by 2023. Today, it counts 850 employees and a fleet of four B747-400F. These will soon be complemented by four 767-300BDSF and four 777-300ERSF conversions over the next two years, Challenge Group follows a solid, 5-year expansion strategy in terms of further fleet growth, exploring new business areas, and continuing to develop its rapidly expanding first and last mile services across Europe and the US, to provide quality end-to-end solutions to its customers.