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ANA, Peach Aviation to launch joint cargo flights in Japan in Nov.

This Oct. 25, 2020 photo shows the logo of All Nippon Airways at Tokyo's Haneda airport. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- All Nippon Airways Co. and Peach Aviation Ltd. under ANA Holdings Inc. will launch joint cargo flights in Japan in November as part of restructuring steps to make up for a sharp drop in passengers amid the global coronavirus pandemic, sources familiar with the move said Monday.

    The development comes as the major Japanese carrier is seeking to streamline its business rocked by the pandemic, which is now expected to prompt the parent company to forecast a record net loss of around 530 billion yen ($5.1 billion) in the year through next March.

    ANA Holdings is also planning to reduce ANA's international passenger flights next year and shift its focus more to cargo flights as a revenue source amid uncertainty about the pace of recovery in demand for air travel, according to the sources.

    Under the plan, Peach Aviation will carry ANA cargo containing fresh food such as vegetables and fishery products on domestic routes linking Fukuoka and Sapporo, as well as Fukuoka and Narita, east of Tokyo, according to the sources.

    ANA plans to increase the number of such flights and start joint cargo flights on international routes in fiscal 2021 from next April.

    The pandemic has depressed air travel, dealing a severe blow to airlines including ANA and Japan Airlines Co.

    Advantage Partners Inc., a Tokyo-based investment fund, is considering taking an equity stake in Star Flyer Inc. to bolster capital of the financially struggling airline under the wing of ANA Holdings.

    The airline, based in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, could raise around 10 billion yen through a third-party allocation of shares, said sources knowledgeable about the plan.

    Net assets of Star Flyer fell to 3.2 billion yen as of the end of June, from 6.7 billion yen three month earlier.

    According to the sources, Advantage Partners is cautious about taking a stake alone, calling for other companies such as existing shareholders to take part.

    Advantage Partners declined to comment on an individual case when contacted by Kyodo News.

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