The addition of a new freighter this month will enable Lufthansa’s cargo subsidiary to expand its long-haul route network to Vietnam and other destinations, while a second Airbus A321 will supplement regional shipping capacity in October, the company said.
Lufthansa Cargo’s freighter fleet consists of 11 Boeing 777 widebody freighters, plus five more operated for the AeroLogic joint venture with DHL Express. The company recently acquired another pre-owned cargo jet in the secondary market.
Lufthansa (DXE: LHA) said Wednesday it will use the additional 777 to open a new destination to Hanoi, doubling its activity in Vietnam. Hanoi will be served twice a week from the German flag carrier’s main hub in Frankfurt with a stopover in Mumbai, India. The airline already flies twice weekly from Frankfurt via Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City.
In addition, service from Frankfurt via Kansai, Japan, to Seoul, South Korea, will increase from three to four times per week. The Hong Kong frequency will increase by one to five times per week.
Lufthansa said it also will increase freighter service from Frankfurt to Mexico City from five to six and to Chicago O’Hare airport from seven to eight flights per week.
Shippers will soon be able to make shipment reservations for the new flights, which are part of the winter schedule that goes into effect on Oct. 30. Lufthansa Cargo’s 2022-23 winter schedule shows a total of 78 weekly 777 freighter rotations.
“We are observing strong demand for our product to North America as well as to economically strong Asia. Vietnam in particular is a clear growth market and I am very pleased that we are establishing a new station there” to serve shippers, said Ashwin Bhat, Lufthansa Cargo’s chief commercial officer.
The extra capacity will come online at the tail of the peak shipping season and gives shippers potential relief for late holiday orders in a tight market where passenger space is still constrained.,
Lufthansa Cargo also said a second A321 narrowbody freighter will enter service in October on short- and medium-haul routes. The airline launched the regional cargo network in March with its first A321 freighter, operated by Lufthansa subsidiary CityLine, an intra-European passenger carrier. The new service is geared to the e-commerce market with routes in Europe and to North Africa.
Lufthansa last year signed an agreement with BBAM Aircraft Leasing and Management for long-term lease of two used A321 passenger planes. They were sent them to Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering, to be retrofitted with a main-deck cargo configuration.
Airport congestion related to passenger travel and a one-day strike by ground staff in Frankfurt has periodically hampered Lufthansa’s cargo flow this summer, but the situation is improving, according to media reports.
Lufthansa Cargo increased operating income by 48% to $490.1 million year over year in the second quarter. The unit achieved record first-half adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $993.5 million, a 52% jump from a year ago.
Last year, Lufthansa Cargo generated $3.9 billion in revenue.