CHINA: Jade Cargo struggles with pilot shortage

Jade Cargo – the first joint venture cargo airline involving an international carrier and Chinese partners – was set to take delivery of its sixth B747-400 freighter in January, but it faces the ongoing stumbling block of lack ofpilots. The carrier, a joint venture between Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo, has been struggling with various […]


Jade Cargo – the first joint venture cargo airline involving an international carrier and Chinese partners – was set to take delivery of its sixth B747-400 freighter in January, but it faces the ongoing stumbling block of lack ofpilots.

The carrier, a joint venture between Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo, has been struggling with various issues since it was launched two years ago from its base in Shenzhen. Flights to the US, which were supposed to commence last June, have yet to take off , in part because management decided to apply for traffic rights for scheduled flights to Dallas and Chicago in lieu of charter services to Houston as initially planned.

“We plan to expand our initial network in 2008, subject to available crew,” said Jade spokesman Tobias Lubecki. “In the year 2008, Jade Cargo will expand and optimise its offering and prepare itself for further growth, once the pilot shortage has been completely overcome. The main focus in 2008 is to stabilise the organisation after the initial fast growth phase and to overcome the crew shortage.”

Jade has reduced its flights to cope with the lack of available pilots, but Lubecki is optimistic that the problem will be resolved shortly. “We expect’ that within the next two quarters, the shortage will be overcome,”he said.