Boeing 747 Freighter operator NCA integrates with ANA: A new era in air cargo business.

In a definitive move towards solidifying its grasp on the air cargo network, All Nippon Airways (ANA) has confirmed its acquisition of Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), a Boeing 747 freight operator, from shipping and logistics powerhouse, NYK Group. The transfer of ownership, slated for the dawn of October, hinges upon NCA shareholder approval and would rebrand the cargo carrier as a fully owned subsidiary of ANA. The business arrangement has been in the offing since a preliminary pact was inked between the two entities in March.

As part of a strategic expansion plan, ANA aims to supercharge its global air freight capacity and broaden the reach of its Japan-based services. The company further intends to fuel international economic activities, positioning Japan at the centre of this push, as it integrates NCA into its cargo operations. This intent was clearly communicated in a stock exchange announcement from the airline.

NYK Group endorsed the acquisition, pointing out that NCA's growth prospects would be boosted under an airline conglomerate. It further argued that this would enhance the freight carrier's ability to meet emissions reduction benchmarks. NYK noted that the extensive expenses related to the frequent introduction of new aircraft, the expansion of operations and maintenance systems, and ongoing staff training, posed substantial financial challenges for NCA in the unstable air freight industry.

NCA currently oversees operations of eight Boeing 747-8 freighters and owns five 747-400 freighters that are managed by ASL and Atlas Air. Over the first three quarters of the present business year, NYK's air cargo arm reported an unaltered profit of ¥56.4 billion ($397 million), while revenues surged by 25.9% to ¥178.3 billion.

However, NCA has had a fluctuating profitability record, having logged losses in fiscal years 2012, 2013, 2018, and 2019. Since its establishment in 1978, NYK has been a central player in NCA's history, culminating in a complete buyout of the freight operator in 2010, as part of its grand scheme to become a full-service logistics firm spanning ocean, land, and air transportation.

Coinciding with the sale of NCA, a reshuffling of the management deck was announced. Hitoshi Oshika, the present president and chief executive, will transition to the role of board chairman, while Hiroyuki Homma will ascend to the president and chief executive's office from his current position as senior managing director.