Air Transport World

Nippon Cargo finally breaks into the U.S. market.

At long last Nippon Cargo Airlines is in the air, flying scheduled freighters between Japan and the U.S. Competing in the market with three other airlines that also operate freighter service, and with the belly capacity of passenger aircraft, NCA is banking on continued strong growth of the market. It is hoping that its dedication to high-quality service will win it a place in the hearts of shippers and forwarders and sell the 2.5 million lbs. of weekly capacity it now offers.

But if the tough battles loom ahead, they seem easy compared with the battles NCA has been through to get where it is.

NCA knows how it feels to be the bride kept waiting at the altar. It took seven years from the time of its incorporation before the Japanese and the U.S. governments finally gave their formal blessings for the carrier to start scheduled all-cargo service between Japan and the U.S.

NCA also knows the disappointment of the groom who was hoping for a dowry big enough to enable him to launch a successful business, but failed to get it. The carrier says it will need at least nine weekly roundtrips between Tokyo, San Francisco and New York to make money. But under the terms of the recently signed interim aviation agreement, NCA is presently limited to six roundtrips, with a gradual--to gradual, says NCA--increase in frequencies after next year.

And NCA knows how a newlywed couple feels to be caught, after it has overcome the objections of its elders, in the crossfire of the continuing bickering between the in-laws. First blocked by the reluctance of the Japanese bureaucracy to cut into flag carrier Japan Air Lines' business, it then became mired in the morass of overall U.S.-Japanese trade relations--the lopsided trade imbalance and the question of unfair Japanese import and export practices--and charges of anti-competitive advantages leveled by potential U.S. competitors, especially Flying Tiger Line.

NCA history

In recent interviews with ATW in New York, Yoshiyuki Shibuya, VP-North America and one of NCAhs directors, reviewed some of his airline's travails and spoke of his hopes for the future. …

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