Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Singapore Airlines closes cargo unit over Iran link


Singapore Airlines has suspended the operations of its cargo venture in China after Washington imposed sanctions on the airline's Chinese partner for allegedly supplying missile components to Iran.

Great Wall Airlines (GWL, 長城航空) stopped operations after the US Treasury Department imposed the sanctions on the venture's shareholder, China Great Wall Industry Corp (中國長城工業), Singapore Airlines said in a statement issued late on Friday.

"The suspension of operations follows a decision by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Treasury Department to impose sanctions on the parent company, and its subsidiaries," the statement said.

"GWL is in discussion with agencies of the US government with a view to bridging the impasse created by these sanctions, which have nothing to do with the operations of GWL," it added.

It said Shanghai-based GWL relies on technical support from US companies for the safe and efficient operation of its aircraft. Arrangements are being made to transfer booked cargo to other carriers, Singapore Airlines said in the statement.

China Great Wall Industry Corp owns 51 percent of GWL, which was launched two months ago, while Singapore Airlines owns 25 percent.

The remaining 24 percent is held by Singapore state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings through Dahlia Investments.

The US Treasury Department in June accused a US firm and four Chinese companies, including China Great Wall Industry Corp, of supplying Iran with missile-related components and called for a freeze of any of their assets under US jurisdiction.

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