lh cargo 777

Lufthansa Cargo is tackling the air freight capacity shortage and updating its freighter fleet, with an order for two 777Fs.

Set to deliver in February and March, 2019, the order could mark the carrier’s ambitions to begin to replace its ageing MD-11F fleet, with plans to scrap two of the aircraft.

Speaking to The Loadstar in March, Alexis von Hoensbroech, chief commercial officer, noted that the carrier still has its 12 MD-11Fs.

“They are good, but not state-of-the-art. We are looking to replace them.”

The MD-11Fs, while less fuel efficient, are paid off and can be used to add to capacity – or be left on the ground.

CEO Peter Gerber told The Loadstar in March that: “For us it is good that we have these old MD-11 as it leaves us flexible – we can bring in new aircraft and drop the MD-11s if we need to reduce capacity.”

The carrier already operates five 777Fs.

The order comes after Lufthansa Cargo announced that 2017 had been one of its most successful financial years ever, with operating profits up from a €50m loss to €242m.

Mr von Hoensbroech said that higher air freight rates would enable airlines to invest again.

“In the years before, price pressures have largely been executed by the forwarders, and the industry wasn’t able to invest in freighters.

“The capacity shortage is a direct result of price pressure from before.

“The industry has got to get used to a higher rate level, and in the long run it’s good. Then you can justify your investments. The industry has a lot of growth in front of it.”

Lufthansa Cargo also announced that it has now launched its joint venture with United. Effective last week, the two airlines are now jointly managing sales and bookings on routes between Europe and the US.

The first routes to launch will be from the US, Italy, the UK, Ireland and Germany, and expand to other routes in coming months.

Mr Gerber said: “The joint venture was designed to provide enhanced value to our customers.

“The combination of the two strong networks offers new routing options. The co-location of our warehouses, in Munich for example, is an additional benefit, with customers needing only one location for export drop-off and import delivery.

“Aligned processes and quicker transfers between separate warehouses also lead to streamlined transport times,” he added.

In recent years Lufthansa Cargo has revealed its growing partnership strategy, forming joint ventures with ANA Cargo and Cathay Pacific, along with United.

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