More Chinese start-ups are preparing to launch dedicated cargo operations to capitalise on China’s booming trade with the West.

Shaanxi Delong United Airlines, a start-up in west China’s Xian City, plans to launch in September, operating domestic services with indigenous turboprop aircraft and international services with widebody freighters wet-leased from a foreign carrier, says the airline’s boss, Dong Jing Ping.

He says Shaanxi Delong has applied for an air operator’s certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and intends “to buy two second-hand [Shaanxi] Y-8F100 aircraft and three new Y8-F600 cargo aircraft”.

The Y-8, derived from the Antonov An-12, is operated by several small Chinese carriers and is the mainstay of the China Postal Airlines fleet. The Y-8F600 is a new derivative of the Y-8, with an upgraded cockpit and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150B engines.

Dong says Shaanxi Delong’s Y-8s will provide feed to the airline’s planned international freighter service from Xian to Nuremberg in Germany, which will use either a McDonnell Douglas DC-10F or a Boeing MD-11F on wet lease.

Shaanxi Delong plans to wet-lease the aircraft from Lufthansa, says Dong, but Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency both say they have plans to launch international services for Shaanxi Delong and have not spoken to the carrier recently.

While Shaanxi Delong is based in Xian City, another operator claims it will be the first dedicated cargo airline based the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Publicly listed Singapore firm A-Sonic, which supplies aircraft components and systems, says its wholly owned subsidiary Swift Air Cargo plans to take a 25% stake in the new, unnamed, cargo airline. The other owners are Guangdong United Eagle Investment (43%), Guangdong Henrong Financing and Guaranty (8%) and Millionstone Holdings (24%).

A-Sonic says the CAAC gave the owners “project approval” on 26 January for the new venture to operate domestic and international cargo services from Guangzhou.

In two months’ time, the owners hope the venture will receive a “business licence” from the CAAC and then get an air operator’s certificate in time to launch services “approximately 15 months” from now, says A-Sonic.


Source: Flight International