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© Xi Zhang

Tianjin Airlines Cargo is seeking an aircraft operating certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The move comes on the back of strong air freight volume growth this year: two other carriers are looking to expand their reach and another reportedly has been granted its AOC.

Reports claim Tianjin has already received launch approval from the CAAC, although The Loadstar was unable to confirm this – the latest CAAC statement notes the carrier is under “preliminary examination”.

Over Rmb610m ($92.5m) has been invested into the carrier, and the CAAC noted that Tianjin had been registered with Rmb700m of capital.

Tianjin Binhai International Airport is proposed as the carrier’s hub airport, and the airline would deploy seven B737 freighters both on a domestic – which would include Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan – and international basis.

Meanwhile, yesterday Jinpeng Aviation announced it had applied to open three new full freighter routes, linking China to the US and Europe.

Pending CAAC approval, from 15 November the carrier will operate a twice-weekly B747 service from Shanghai Pudong to Frankfurt Hahn and Ordos, via Xi’an. Expected to launch on the same date is a daily B747 service from Shanghai to Brussels and Tianjin via Zhengzhou.

And from 1 December, it is hoping to run another daily B747 freighter between Shanghai and Los Angeles, with stops at Zhengzhou and Tianjin.

While Tianjin and Jinpeng await CAAC approval, Cargo Facts reports that another Chinese all-cargo carrier, China Air Cargo, commenced operations last week.

The carrier, which operates two converted B757 freighters, ran its maiden flight between Shenzhen and Changzhou.

Furthermore, as we reported last week, China Southern (CZ) and Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo have signed an MoU, which will see them combine networks in both freighter and belly space.

Zhao Fengsheng, senior vice president of China Southern Cargo, said: “This MoU leads to a new phase of cooperation between us; we anticipate concrete results.”

The deeper partnership between the two Skyteam members led to suggestions that CZ, reportedly due to lose slots at Schiphol in what some see as Dutch protectionism, may now see that possibility retreat.

While neither the alliance nor CZ have responded to requests for comment, one source suggested it appeared that China Southern would be protected by the Skyteam slot pool.

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