On 1 December – less than a week from today – All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa Cargo will launch their Europe/Asia joint venture with the first flights from Japan to Europe. And with that deal underway, ANA has turned its focus to the trans-Pacific lane, signing a similar agreement with US-based United Airlines.
The two carriers have filed antitrust applications with US and Japanese regulatory authorities for a set-up similar to ANA’s jv with Lufthansa Cargo. Commenting on the filing, ANA described the proposed jv with United as one that would “create a more efficient and comprehensive trans-Pacific air cargo business network.” The carrier went on to say that the trans-Pacific cargo joint venture – the first of its kind between the U.S. and Asia – would generate substantial service benefits for freight consumers, and that “It would also enable United and ANA to compete more effectively with other airlines that maintain a significant presence in both markets.”
As with the Lufthansa Cargo jv, under the proposed United jv the two carriers “will be able to jointly manage trans-Pacific air cargo business activities including scheduling, pricing and sales.” Like Lufthansa and ANA, United is a member of the Star Alliance, and if the trans-Pacific venture gains regulatory approval it could be the start of a broader Star Cargo Alliance. We shall see.
In addition to a long-haul passenger fleet that includes fifty-four 777s and thirrty-three 787s (with more on order), ANA operates ten 767-300Fs in intra-Asia regional service. United does not operate freighters, but has a large fleet of widebody passenger aircraft, including seventy-four 777s and thirteen 787s (with more on order).