Carriers are required to conduct these test runs to qualify for an AOC, with CLG first applying to the German Federal Aviation Authority for an operating licence towards the end of 2017, reported UK's The Loadstar.Some observers have questioned whether the carrier, owned by the same shareholder as Russia's Volga-Dnepr Group, would ever receive an AOC, with rumours surrounding its ownership and links to Russia. Lufthansa cargo chief executive Peter Gerber questioned who had ultimate control over the airline."I believe, for the moment, it is difficult to get an AOC because you need to be European, and it [the carrier] needs to be European-controlled," he told Air Cargo News."If it is a [Russia-based] AirBridgeCargo
subsidiary, then that in itself contradicts the laws - if it is controlled by ABC it can't get an AOC. I'm pretty sure that the German authorities will look at this very thoroughly and do the right thing."However, the main shareholder, Alexei Isaykin, holds a Cypriot/EU passport and the airline is not a subsidiary of ABC or Volga-Dnepr.One source told The Loadstar the delays to CLG's AOC were not of a political nature."The LBA is very strict and very fair. They want to ensure that they don't make any mistakes. It's not political. But they are looking more carefully perhaps than normal."CLG's managing director Ulrich Ogiermann told CargoForwarder he believed the AOC was a "matter of weeks, not months" away."I can confirm we are well on track to launch our maiden flight in July, provided all regulatory approvals are obtained," he said.In anticipation of this, the carrier has reportedly recruited 15 captains and first officers to pilot its fleet of two Boeing 737-400s passenger conversions with a further three B737-400s scheduled for delivery in the coming months.