Air China has disclosed details of the new cargo airline it plans to operate in partnership with Cathay Pacifi c Airways, which will be based on the existing services of China Cargo Airlineswhich operate out of Beijing.
The new carrier, in which Air China will hold a 51-percent majority stake, is scheduled to start in June and will hub in Shanghai. Air China currently holds a stake of 51 percent in China Cargo Airlines (CCA), while Citic Pacifi c and Beijing Capital Airport Group have stakes of 25 percent and24 percent respectively.
“We are discussing with Citic Pacifi c and Beijing Capital Airport Group on how to cede their shares in China Cargo Airlines. They can either hold CA’s shares in exchange or sell their stakes in cash,” Air China’s planning and development department deputy director, Hu Pengbin said.
It is rumoured that Cathay may invest in freighters for its 49 percent stake in the new carrier. Last year Cathay Cargo introduced two 747- 400BCFs and posted record cargo revenue of HK$11.98 billion ($1.53 billion).
Insiders point out that the cargo venture will be an important part of Air China’s strategy to build Shanghai as a hub, which involves expanding international services and integrating a subsidiary from nearby Zhejiang Province into a new company employing approximately 1,000 people to control its business in the Yangtze Delta region. It plans to establish a cargo terminal at Pudong airport with an annual throughput of 1.2 million tonnes.