Yet another new all-cargo carrier!

  • David Harris
  • January 27, 2012
  • Archive

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As we pointed out in a recent post about the proposed launch of two new long-haul freighter operators, the failure of several all-cargo carriers in 2011 does not appear to have deterred new entrants into the main-deck freight business.  This week we have further proof, as Hangzhou-based CDI Cargo Airlines says it has acquired three 737-300s, and will launch service from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (100 km southwest of Shanghai) following conversion of the aircraft to freighter configuration. Cargo Facts believes the three are 737-300s (25891, 27372, 27518) currently in the Air China fleet. No announcement has been made regarding the source of the conversions.


CDI said on its website that it would initially operate the 737 freighters on “domestic and surrounding routes” (presumably targeting Japan and/or Korea), but that it also planned to acquire widebody freighters for long-haul operation from a Hangzhou hub. CDI appears to be a joint venture of two Chinese companies (holding 51% and 24%, respectively) and two foreign companies (15% and 10%, respectively), and says it has been approved for operation by the Civil Aviation Authority of China.


Regarding the planned widebody freighters, the company’s website offers an interesting glimpse into the future. Prominent at the top of the home page is the photo at right. Now, since CDI doesn’t have any large freighters yet, this is obviously a mock-up of what it expects at sometime in the future. Or is it? We’ll make this a contest with the usual prize of coffee and a doughnut for the first person to identify the “freighter” in the picture.

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6 thoughts on “Yet another new all-cargo carrier!

  1. Karen, but the livery looks so nice. 

  2. Photoshop forever. Wonder why anyone would convert 737-300 when the 400 is readily available and the 300 leases are dirt cheap? 

  3. Hi Stan — good to hear from you. As to why anyone would choose 733s instead of 734s, I really don’t know. All I can say is that there are three 737-300s in the Air China fleet that appear to be committed to this new outfit. (Which I believe is called Long Dragon Cargo Airlines in Chinese. No idea why they chose CDI for their English name.)

  4. Hi David, hi Stan

    Suggest you check the Chinese regulation concerning leasing aircraft from abroad. There is an age limitation and 737F’s are not among the youngest aircraft.

    CDI will simply focus on the Chinese domestic courier business which is booming in recent years. I do not see them flying international routes at the initial phase.

  5. Hello Hakan

    No, I don’t think they’ll be launching intercontinental service right away either. As you say, there’s plenty of freight and express packages to be moved within China, and they will probably start that way. But Stan’s question is still a good one. If you want a narrowbody freighter for domestic use, why not go with a 737-400 instead of a -300? It may be that there are not any -400s available that meet the Chinese import requirements, I’ll have to check the databases, but most carriers converting 737 classics now are opting for -400s.

    On another subject, what is happening at Jade? Any news on the investment by Uni-Top? Or a date for the resumption of service?

    Best wishes,

    David Harris

  6. Hi David,

    I assume there are lots of reasons behind their choice but the main hurdle is the aircraft age limitations imposed by CAAC. Whether there were 400s available in Chinese market with the right price and right timing, I am not sure. However, I am sure they have done their calculations before they go for this decision.

    If you check the CAAC data, you will see that Chinese domestic cargo carriers are nicely profitable. I think CDI will first tap into this part of the business before they focus on international flights.

    As for Jade, unfortunately I cannot tell anything beyond what is announced in the website. Wait and see…