Leipzig-based AeroLogic, a 50/50 joint venture of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo, added a 777F (66632) to its fleet following delivery to Lufthansa, on lease from Boeing Capital [FATs 005212-5214]. Once active, the aircraft will be the fourth new-build 777F to enter service with AeroLogic this year – a significant boost from the ten units in operation at the end of 2018, to fourteen today as the JV partners increase their reliance on the carrier for 777F ACMI flying.
The aircraft delivered this week will be managed by Lufthansa Cargo and is the last aircraft to be added as part of the carrier’s plan to introduce the equivalent of four 777Fs to its operation this year, with both AeroLogic and Lufthansa Cargo taking two aircraft each. AeroLogic added its first unit for LH Cargo in January (66164) while Lufthansa Cargo added two 777Fs to its own fleet in February and March (66089 and 66090).
Apart from the aircraft operated on behalf of Lufthansa Cargo, AeroLogic last month began operating a pair of 777Fs on a CMI basis for DHL Express. Of the fourteen aircraft in AeroLogic’s fleet, four are now operated for DHL Express and once 66632 is active, two will be operating for Lufthansa Cargo. The remaining eight aircraft are in week-day service with DHL, and are utilized by Lufthansa during weekends.
As for Lufthansa’s own-operated fleet, the carrier is moving forward with plans to winnow its MD-11F fleet, but has yet to disclose whether additional 777F orders are in the pipeline. Lufthansa once operated nineteen MD-11Fs but today operates just ten alongside its seven 777Fs. The carrier told Cargo Facts that it is still reviewing a plan accelerate the retirement of all its MD-11Fs to transition to a single 777F fleet by the end of 2020, but no announcements have been made. Already, two MD-11Fs have been removed from service this year.
With sluggish demand for air freight, the retirement of additional MD-11Fs wouldn’t be unexpected. Lufthansa reported a decline of 3.6% y-o-y in traffic carried by its group carriers in September, to 889 million FTKs. For the first three quarters of 2019, Lufthansa saw a 1.9% decline in its overall traffic to 7.9 billion FTKs.