© Bawan Ari Purnawan

Airline cargo partnerships are rare. One of the most successful, between Lufthansa Cargo, United and All Nippon Airways, was suspended last year as ANA began preparations to take over Nippon Cargo Airlines.

The deal was meant to be completed on 1 July, but today ANA said it was postponing the takeover again.

The share exchange is now scheduled for nearly a year from now, on 31 March 2025, and ANA blamed the time it will take to get approvals from relevant authorities in Japan and elsewhere.

But now another partnership has formed: Qatar Airways Cargo (QR) and MasKargo have further cemented their oneworld passenger partnership with a MoU on a cargo deal.

The airlines said they would “leverage each other’s network strengths and fleet capacity to increase cargo offerings”.

MasKargo will have access to Qatar’s network, while Qatar can access MasKargo’s APAC network, using both Hamad International and Kuala Lumpur International airports, with the former expanding its handling capabilities.

MasKargo has access to 76 aircraft, including 20 new A330s and three A330-200 freighters. Qatar Airways has around 255 aircraft, including 28 777Fs, and some six more due to deliver.

Mark Drusch, QR’s chief officer cargo, told The Loadstar QR “continuously strives to strengthen partnerships within the OneWorld alliance carriers”.

“Our commitment lies in exploring strategies to expand our business and enhance collaborative efforts, ultimately benefiting our valued customers.”

QR’s reach to other airlines seems to be expanding, and it could look to strengthen its cargo partnerships: it has shares in IAG, Rwandair, Cathay Pacific and Latam Airlines.

But not all alliances are successful.

While SkyTeam Cargo is said to be thriving, the WOW Alliance, formed in 2000 between SAS Cargo Group, Lufthansa Cargo and Singapore Airlines Cargo, ended in 2010, for a number of reasons. Sources at the time noted that the members had started to compete rather than cooperate, and failed to agree on joint services.

Lufthansa Cargo was the first to abandon the alliance, in 2009, following frustration over the lack of revenue-sharing. One manager told The Loadstar at the time: “The problem … was that there was no joint cash box. We still had to sell our own capacities …and there was no alignment on the IT or handling – so just normal interline business. It was a marketing tool which had no real advantage for customers.”

Meanwhile, QR said discussions with MasKargo were only just beginning.

“The MoU marks the beginning of the discussions between the two parties to reach a pro-competitive joint business agreement (JBA). Until those arrangements are finalised, both parties will continue operating with the same partnership principles they have now,” explained Mr Drusch.

He added that the partnership would be deeper than a normal interline agreement.

“The strategic objective of the JBA is to go beyond a normal interline business and leverage from the synergies that come from an enhanced partnership, delivering increased value to both airlines and customers.

“Customers are, and will always be, at the centre of everything we do at Qatar Airways. This JBA with MASkargo was initiated with the goal of offering both parties’ customers enhanced services, an expanded network and new products. “

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