Alibaba refutes aircraft purchase speculation

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Industry speculation that Chinese internet retail platform Alibaba could follow the Amazon example and build its own aircraft fleet for distribution have been squashed by the company. An official for Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of the Alibaba group, told Air Cargo Week: “We are not buying planes.”

Ironically, in November last year, the company’s Taobao, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, was used to dispose of three B747Fs from the bankrupt Jade Cargo International airline. Two went to fellow Chinese carrier SF Airlines and the third to Israeli operator CAL Cargo Airlines.

The B747-400ERFs were being liquidated by the Intermediate People’s Court of Shenzhen City, according to reports on Bloomberg. The Chinese carrier bid more than 320 million yuan ($48 million) for two of the B747Fs, according to the Xinhua News Agency quoted by Bloomberg. The third was purchased by CAL Cargo Airlines.

“Online auctions are a good way to handle the property of bankrupt firms,” Long Guangwei, the court’s vice-president, told Xinhua. Taobao roughly translates as “digging for treasure.”