Europe's Largest Airline Lufthansa Cargo May Withdraw In China

Lufthansa Cargo, controlled by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany's flag carrier and also the largest one in Europe, considers withdrawing from the Chinese market due to fierce competition.

The cargo airline currently operates in China via a joint venture Jade Cargo International Airlines Co with a 25 percent stake. The remaining stakes are owned by German Investment and Development Co (DEG) and Shenzhen Airlines Co Ltd with a 24 percent and a 51 percent stake, respectively.

Lufthansa Cargo said it is negotiating with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways about the sale of its stakes in the JV, which generates nearly one fifth of expected revenue and faces the difficulty on fund-raising. Deutsche Lufthansa, the parent company of the cargo unit, saw its operating revenue decline 21 percent from a year earlier to EUR 494 million in the third quarter of this year.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, one of Lufthansa Cargo's major Chinese rivals, said its cargo shipments for October declined 17.5 percent year on year in mainland China and Hong Kong.