Lufthansa Cargo to expand
Lufthansa Cargo (LC) is looking to expand its fleet by 25 percent in the next four years and is considering options for new freighters or passenger conversions.
Achim Martinka, the carrier’s vice president for the Americas, said LC was looking for six “MD-11 equivalent” freighters and would announce its decision by the end of March.
LC has returned almost to its pre-recession volumes after a 20 percent increase last year. It has returned all 18 of its MD-11s to service after grounding a number of aircraft in 2008-09.
Airlines laid up large number of freighters during the economic downturn, but many older, less fuel-efficient models, such as Boeing 747-200s, are unlikely to come back into service. The rapid recovery of the market means the surplus in global capacity will narrow to 1 percent this year, but LC has calculated there will be a deficit by 2012 and a 5 percent capacity shortage by 2014.
Martinka ruled out further MD-11s, telling a media briefing in New York, “We need a more economical, environmentally friendly aircraft.”
He said Lufthansa could convert existing passenger B747-400s or acquire B777 freighters. It has no 777s in its passenger or freighter fleets, but AeroLogic, the LC/DHL joint venture, operates 777Fs exclusively. Martinka said Lufthansa Cargo was “quite happy with the experience."
He added that LC may return to wet-leasing freighters, as it did before the downturn, to cover any shortfall in capacity ahead of new aircraft being delivered.