The joint venture agreement was formally signed in June 2017, when Cargolux said Henan Cargo Airlines flights would begin during the fourth quarter of 2018. That date was pushed back in May 2018, when owners said Henan Cargo Airlines would start service during the third quarter of 2019. The date has further slipped.
Cargolux, Europe’s largest freight airline, said work on the airline continues slowly but surely.
“Cargolux remains fully committed [to] maintaining and developing Zhengzhou further as the major hub in China,” a Cargolux spokeswoman told Delano on 12 December. “As regards the start of Henan Cargo Airlines, the processes involved have taken longer than anticipated. There is no specific timeline to the start at this stage,” she said.
The news was first reported by The Loadstar, an industry publication, on 11 December.
Richard Forson, CEO of Cargolux, told The Loadstar the delays were caused by regulatory hurdles and uncertainly in the market over the China-US trade dispute. Forson stated:
“The airline is still in progress, there is a lot of bureaucracy that has to be followed. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with China and the US – if there is resolution, then that’s positive, but if there is a full-blown trade war, then that is a significant risk.”
Cargolux’s partners in Henen Cargo Airlines are the Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment Co (HNCA), which itself owns 35% of Cargolux, as well as Henan Airport Group and Xinggang Investment Group.