Chinese cargo start-up Jade Cargo International – a joint venture between China’s Shenzhen Airlines, German bank DEG and Lufthansa Cargo Airlines – has agreed to acquire six Boeing 747-400ER Freighters, but has delayed its launch by one year.

A Shenzhen Airlines source says Jade’s launch has been put back to July or August 2006 as it is waiting for the six new 747-400ERFs to be delivered between June 2006 and the end of 2008. The first three will be taken on operating leases “from a bank in Germany” that is not DEG, and the other three will be purchased direct from the manufacturer, says the source.

Jade Cargo plans to operate the extended range 747s to some Asian cities as well as to the USA, possibly via Japan, and to Europe, possibly via India, says the source. Representatives of the Japanese and Chinese governments are currently discussing a new air services agreement which could include fifth freedom rights for Chinese cargo airlines beyond Japan to the USA, he adds.

Jade Cargo, which is based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, was planning to launch in this year’s second half but had to delay its plans because “there are no aircraft available”, says the Shenzhen Airlines source. It had been looking to dry-lease 747-200Fs. Prior to that it was seeking wet-leases of Airbus A300Fs but the Chinese authorities announced that start-up airlines in China would be prevented from launching with wet-leased aircraft.

Source: Flight International