© Mike Fuchslocher | nippon cargo airlines NCA
© Mike Fuchslocher

NYK Line’s sale of Nippon Cargo Airlines to All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) has been delayed for four months – but ANA’s consequent suspension of its joint-ventures with United Airlines and Lufthansa is a temporary measure, it says, it wants to resume the JVs after it has restructured.

Its interline agreements with the two carriers remain in place.

ANA said last week it was delaying its takeover of NCA, which was due to happen on Sunday. It said the share exchange would now take place on 1 February.

“Taking into consideration the time to complete the review of the business combination that will result from the share exchange by the relevant authorities in Japan and foreign countries, etc, the company decided to change the effective date of the share exchange,” it said.

The balance sheets of the two carriers will be consolidated from the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2024.

The airline also announced it was suspending its hitherto successful partnerships with Lufthansa and United. But a spokesperson told The Loadstar: “Technically, the joint-venture partnerships with United and Lufthansa Cargo will not be terminated, but suspended. While we will focus on the restructuring of our cargo business at hand, ANA hopes to resume the joint-venture in the future.”

The spokesperson added: “With the suspension of the joint-venture partnership, coordination of flight schedules, pricing and cargo space will be halted. However, as an interline agreement is in place with United and Lufthansa Cargo, ANA will continue to be able to offer space on the respective partner airlines, and vice versa.”

ANA operates four 767 freighters and two 777 freighters; NCA has eight 747 freighters, which ANA has pledged to take on.

The sale of NCA by NYK Line, announced in March, bucked the trend for shipping lines working with airlines.  NYK acquired the airline fully in 2010, “with the aim of becoming a comprehensive logistics company offering ocean, land and air transport”.

However, it said costs were too high, after NCA became plagued with aircraft maintenance issues. NYK said at the time: “The continuous introduction of new aircraft to expand the operation and maintenance system, and the continuous training of personnel engaged in operation and maintenance required a considerable expenditure.

“In the highly volatile business environment of airfreight, NCA has been facing challenges in expanding its business scale at a level that is commensurate with such costs.”

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