Grandstar calls it a day

Mounting losses force joint venture carrier outfit to stop operations

CNY340.1 million Grandstar Cargo International Airlines Korean Air mounting losses Sinotrans Tianjin

Grandstar Cargo International Airlines, an air cargo carrier jointly owned by Sinotrans and Korean Air Lines Co., has approved plans to liquidate the carrier amid losses amounting to CNY340.1 million (US$53.71 million) in 2011 (in 2010, it  was CNY20.7 million or $3.27 million and CNY94.3 million or $14.89 million in 2009). Grandstar has already suspended flight operations.

Korean Air said the liquidation of Grandstar was an inevitable decision owing mainly to low cargo-carrying demand and higher costs from rising oil prices.

“Despite possible losses from the liquidation, we regard partnership with Sinotrans as a valuable asset and plan to continue to seek new business opportunities in China, including expansion of routes,” South Korea’s flag carrier said in an emailed statement.

The airline started operations in 2008 with one Boeing 747-400 freighter serving European destinations. The airline launched flights to Seoul from Tianjin in July last year and had plans to add two more aircraft, according to the website.