Uni-Top completes take over of GrandStar Cargo

Wuhan, China-based Uni-Top Airlines has completed its purchase of a 51 per cent stake in GrandStar Cargo International Airlines, based in Tianjin, from Sinotrans Air Transportation Development Co (Sinotrans Air) for the nominal price of CNY1(US$0.16).


Uni-Top completes take over of GrandStar Cargo


Wuhan, China-based Uni-Top Airlines has completed its purchase of a 51 per cent stake in GrandStar Cargo International Airlines, based in Tianjin, from Sinotrans Air Transportation Development Co (Sinotrans Air) for the nominal price of CNY1(US$0.16). Grandstar’s other shareholders include Hana Capital with 13 per cent and Shinhan Capital with 11 per cent. Korean Air disposed of its 25 per cent stake in the carrier to Uni-Top for CNY1 in June last year.

Over the period June 2008 to early 2012, Grandstar operated cargo flights between Tianjin, Frankfurt, Shanghai Pudong and Seoul Incheon. The carrier’s ultimate demise in May 2012 was attributed to a depressed air cargo market, high oil prices and the Chinese government’s subsidisation of domestic airlines.

Although it has acquired GrandStar’s significant debt burden, which in 2012 stood at CNY600million, Uni-Top plans to use Grand Star’s traffic rights to expand its own profitable business to include additional destinations in Europe and the US. As part of the transaction, Uni-Top also acquired GrandStar’s B747-400F, currently in storage at Beijing Capital airport.

Uni-Top Airlines operates three B747- 200Fs serving New Delhi and Chennai in India, out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. In late-2013 it was announced that Dresden, Germany based EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke would undertake four (plus three options) passenger-tofreighter conversions of ex-China Eastern A300-600s beginning in September 2014.