Lufthansa, China's Shenzhen Airlines JV to start ops early next year - report


BEIJING (XFNews) - Jade Cargo International, a joint venture between Lufthansa AG and China's Shenzhen Airlines, plans to begin operations early next year out of Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, the Standard reported, citing sources.

Starting next year through 2007, the air freight joint venture plans to operate six Boeing 747-400F aircraft, serving several undisclosed destinations in the US and Europe, the paper said.

In March, Lufthansa took a 25 pct stake in Jade Cargo, which has registered capital of 90 mln yuan.

Another source told the paper that Jade Cargo's launch had been delayed by the long period of ownership uncertainty surrounding its majority shareholder, Shenzhen Airlines.

In May, two Chinese investment firms, Yi Yang Group and Hui Run Investments, acquired 65 pct of Shenzhen Air at auction, outbidding Air China, which has retained a 25 pct stake in the regional airline.

The source told the paper that China Eastern Airlines and Air China are also in discussions with Shenzhen Airport officials about using the airport as a southern cargo hub, the paper said.

Shenzhen Baoan, which faces regional cargo competition from Hong Kong International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, expects double digit cargo growth next year, according to the paper.

The report cited KGI Securities analyst, Jack Xu, as saying that if Jade Cargo based six Boeing 747s at Shenzhen Baoan, the airport would realize an additional 32 mln to 39 mln yuan of revenue per year, equivalent to three or four pct of its 2005 sales.

He added that Shenzhen Airport could count on the new carrier for up to nine mln yuan in annual takeoff fees and up to 30 mln yuan in logistics and cargo management fees.

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