China Southern, Air France talk air cargo joint venture
Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines and Air France are in the early stages of talks to establish a joint-venture cargo airline.
A statement released by China Southern stressed the early nature of the discussions and said, as yet, no solid agreement had been reached.
Chinese government rules limit a foreign company to a 25 percent stake, at most, in a Chinese airline. Referring to possible foreign collaboration, Xu Jiebo, vice general manager of China Southern, told the Shanghai Securities News last year that, '[China Southern] surely hopes the foreign investor will hold the biggest possible share if the negotiation turns out to be successful.”
China Southern is the sole member of the 'big three' Chinese lines that does not have a cargo transport unit. China Cargo Airlines was formed by China Eastern Airlines and COSCO Group in 1998, while Air China set up Air China Cargo in 2003.
In 2004, the budget-priced Shenzhen Airlines established Jade Cargo International with Lufthansa Cargo and DEG. Jade has since managed to cut into China Southern's home air cargo market in the southern region of the country.