Air Transport World

A star is born: the cargo airline aims for success providing lift to DHL and others.(Cargo)(Astar Air Cargo Inc., DHL Airways)(Company Profile)

The birth of Astar Air Cargo, which celebrated its first anniversary in July, was not particularly painful, but sticky questions of legitimacy were raised from the outset by UPS and FedEx, rivals of DHL Worldwide Express, from whence the new carrier traces its parentage. A four-year campaign by the two package/express giants to have the airline declared illegitimate finally was put to rest in May when the US Dept. of Transportation determined that Astar complies with federal law forbidding foreign nationals from holding more than a 25% voting stake in a US carrier.

For Astar Chairman and CEO John Dasburg, who led the investment group that acquired the former DHL Airways for $60 million during the regulatory battle, the DOT ruling could not have come too soon. The time spent explaining--and defending--the airline's ownership structure "was very consuming," he tells ATW. "It prevented us from putting our energy into acquisitions and expansion. Now we can focus our resources on some growth."

Dasburg joined Astar as CEO ill March 2003 when it was still DHL Airways and quickly negotiated a sale with its then-owners, former Chairman William Robinson (75%) and Deutsche Post (25%). …

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