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Lufthansa expands intra-Europe cargo network with A321 retrofit freighters

New aircraft open door for more service to UK, Spain, Israel and Turkey

Lufthansa Cargo outsources flying of its A321 freighter to a sister airline. It plans to add three more of the aircraft in the next nine months. (Photo: Lufthansa Cargo)

The arrival of three new narrowbody freighters between October and next summer will enable Lufthansa Cargo to expand its medium-haul network in Europe for same-day e-commerce customers, the company said Monday.

As previously reported, a second A321 narrowbody freighter will enter service in October. The used passenger plane is currently being converted in Singapore by a specialty overhaul provider.

Lufthansa Cargo said it will add Birmingham, England, London and Madrid to its intra-European network and that existing destinations Tel Aviv, Israel, and Istanbul will get extra frequencies. 

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 North Africa, including Cairo, Egypt, Malta and Tunis, Tunisia.

The cargo subsidiary of Lufthansa (DXE: LHA) will offer daily weekday flights to Birmingham and Dublin, one of its existing destinations, from its base in Frankfurt, Germany.

“We can now offer even shorter transport times within Europe and to selected medium-haul destinations,” said Chief Commercial Officer Ashwin Bhat.


Lufthansa Cargo is among the top 15 scheduled cargo airlines in the world in terms of long-haul cargo carried, according to the International Air Transport Association. There are 11 Boeing 777 freighters in its fleet, plus five more operated for the AeroLogic joint venture with DHL Express.

The company’s goal is to become a leading cargo carrier in the European same-day delivery market, Bhat added. 

Toward that end, Lufthansa Cargo said it will receive two more A321 converted freighters in the first half of 2023, doubling its available capacity for express delivery customers. 

The A321 converted freighters combine a large amount of capacity for a narrowbody jet with fuel efficiency. The planes can carry up to 28 tons, with 14 pallets and container positions on the main deck, plus 10 spots for small containers on the lower deck. That lower deck capability is lacking on the rival Boeing 737-800, which only accepts loose cargo.

Lufthansa Cargo is leasing the A321 freighters from San Francisco-based BBAM Aircraft Leasing & Management, which has outsourced conversion to an Airbus joint venture with facilities in Germany and Singapore.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]
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