Beginning October 28, Lufthansa Cargo will operate an MD-11 freighter service from its Frankfurt Airport hub to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The new route, which will likely be inundated with pharmaceutical exports from Israel, significantly boosts the German carrier’s presence in the Middle Eastern market.
Freight flights will depart for Tel Aviv every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday nights, as well as in the late morning on Fridays, and return to Germany via Istanbul every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. Friday is the only day Lufthansa Cargo will operate direct service from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt, according to a press release.
These flights signal good news for the carrier, which saw volumes slide 8.9 percent, year-over-year, from January to September. A 12.9 percent, year-over-year, decline in demand from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as general economic malaise, impaired Lufthansa Cargo’s airfreight traffic during the first nine months of 2012, according to reports.
Despite this decline, the carrier’s load factor only dropped 0.3 percent, year-over-year, from January to September, totaling 69 percent. Karl Ulrich Garnadt, chairman and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, credited this success with strong aircraft utilization.
“Knowing how volatile the airfreight business is and [being] aware of the importance of exercising maximum flexibility, we make a point of focusing particularly on capacity management,” he said in a statement. “Whenever fuel prices are high, the rule that only high load factors enable a cargo airline to fly profitably applies more than ever.”