French container line CMA CGM has confirmed it has created an air cargo division and acquired four freighters.

As reported in The Loadstar publication, it has launched CMA CGM Air Cargo with four A330-200Fs – a move, it said, that “strengthens the group’s transport and logistics business”.

The aircraft, bought from Qatar Airways Cargo, will be operated by a “European airline”, said the carrier, which is thought to be Air Belgium, although CMA was in talks with Group Dubreuil, owner of Air Caraibes, French Bee and HiLine Cargo, in which it bought a 30% stake last year.

Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM chairman and CEO, said the new division was “a major milestone in the development of our logistics services”.

Some observers were more sceptical, with one company insider grumbling that “CMA CGM now thinks it’s an airline, and I have an issue with that”.