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Lufthansa Cargo adds new B777Fs

  26.11.2013    

Lufthansa Cargo will boost cargo capacity five per cent next year with the operation of four new Boeing 777 freighters and retirement of only two of the eighteen MD-11 freighters in its existing fleet, according to the Shipping Gazette.
The airline's first B777F took to the skies on November 19 on a scheduled flight from Frankfurt to the US. A second 777F will join the fleet next month followed by two in 2014 and a fifth in 2015, with options for five more that can be converted from next September.
The jets will debut on US flights and serve Asia routes from next year.
Lufthansa is adding aircraft at a time when the air cargo sector is still struggling to regain lost ground after the 2008 slump in a bet that new planes will keep it competitive as passenger-jet orders from Gulf rivals add huge volumes of belly capacity, reports Bloomberg News.
"It's no surprise that global freight markets have developed weaker than anticipated this year," said Lufthansa Cargo CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt. "We will see a return to growth next year."
Lufthansa is spending EUR2 billion (US$2.7 billion) on the B777Fs, an expanded cargo terminal and a move to digital platforms by 2020.
"In a world where cargo markets have not grown for four years, this investment is a sign of trust in Lufthansa Cargo and its operations," group CEO Christoph Franz told reporters.
While Mideast operators led by Dubai-based Emirates are adding belly space and freighters, the stuttering economy that led Air Cargo Germany to fold in March and prompted Denver-based Frontier Airlines to halt freight flights at the end of September should ease overcapacity, Lufthansa reckons.
"We've heard the Gulf carriers ordering hundreds of new planes, and we're often asked how we plan to deal with this," Mr Garnadt said. "Yes, the cargo industry is under pressure. But the market is just beginning to separate winners from losers. We are among the few companies that will keep making profits."
Mr Garnadt re-emphasised that Deutsche Lufthansa's freight division is seeking partnerships with other airlines, and said the first such agreement will be announced in 2014, without providing details.


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