All Nippon Airways has delayed its planned takeover of fellow Japanese carrier Nippon Cargo Airlines for a fourth time.

At last confirmation, the deal was due to be completed on July 1, but this has now been pushed back to March 31 next year.

Nippon Cargo Airlines 747-8F

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A 747-8F of Nippon Cargo Airlines in January 2021. ANA expects the the acquisition to enhance its air cargo network

The delay is because of the approvals process that is currently being carried out by competition regulators, says ANA Group in a statement.

“As announced in the Disclosed Notice, the Share Exchange will be implemented subject to the approvals of the relevant authorities,” explained the Group.

“Taking into consideration the time to complete the review of the business combination that will result from the Share Exchange by the relevant authorities in Japan and China, etc., the Company decided to change the effective date of the Share Exchange from July 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025.”

The decision by ANA to delay its takeover of NYK-owned NCA may not come as a surprise to the air cargo community, given this is the fourth such announcement.

ANA had originally anticipated to complete the deal on October 1 last year, but this was later pushed back until February 1 this year, then April 1 and finally July 1.

Shipping group NYK decided to sell NCA to ANA due to the ongoing costs of running the cargo airline.

A basic agreement was reached in March last year and then finalised in July.

NCA currently operates a fleet of eight Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft and owns five 747-400 freighters that are operated by ASL and Atlas Air.

ANA said at the time the deal was announced that the takeover would dramatically enhance its international air cargo network and products and services based in Japan.

Air cargo represents 6.5% of NYK’s total revenues. NYK reported that its air cargo business (NCA) recorded a 55.7% fall in profit in its consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31.

In its consolidated financial results for the year ended March 31, ANA said the volume of international cargo handled in the year decreased 15.6% year on year to 679,000t.

This article originally appear on Air Cargo News