Qantas is continuing its expansion into Asian markets with a 49% investment in Bangkok-based freight airline Thai Air Cargo. The Australian airline declines to reveal the level of investment, but says it is "relatively small", believed to be a couple of million Australian dollars. Qantas's partner in the venture is Thai company CTI Holding.

Thai Air Cargo has been established for a number of years and has an operator licence for domestic and international cargo services and intra-Asian traffic rights, but has yet to launch operations.

Thai Air Cargo will start services in October, says Qantas. It will begin operations from Bangkok on a small scale, with just one leased aircraft, probably a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, operating to China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore. "It will provide a lot of opportunities for Qantas cargo operations to expand into other Asian markets," says the Australian carrier.

This year has already seen the expansion of Qantas's Asian freight activities, with the launch of a twice-weekly freighter service between Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai and Chicago.

Qantas's involvement in Thai Air Cargo follows the airline's 49.9% investment earlier this year in a new Singapore-based low-cost airline, which is due to start operations before the end of this year.



Source: Flight International