Lufthansa Cargo preparing to retire another MD-11F?

Another MD-11F belonging to Germany-based Lufthansa Cargo appears to be being prepared for retirement. The aircraft (48805) would be the second of two MD-11Fs the carrier had planned to remove from its fleet by the end of the year, after unit 48785 was ferried to Victorville (VCV) in August 2019.

Unit 48805 has not flown since arriving back at Frankfurt (FRA) from New York (JFK) on Sept. 29, 2019. All of Lufthansa’s ten other MD-11Fs have been actively flying in the last couple of days, except 48803, which has been at FRA since Oct. 7.

Lufthansa Cargo would neither confirm nor deny that unit 48805 is being withdrawn, but we note that this aircraft suffered airframe damage when a tyre on the left nose landing gear detached and struck the fuselage during landing at Buenos Aires (EZE) from Curitiba (CWB) in November 2016. We therefore wouldn’t be surprised if this frame is indeed being removed from the fleet, even though it is the second-youngest, at just over 19 years old.

Lufthansa once operated nineteen MD-11Fs but is renewing its fleet with 777Fs, of which it now has seven. 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.

In the meantime, Lufthansa Cargo is also expanding its 777F capacity through AeroLogic, its joint venture with DHL Express. AeroLogic received an eleventh 777F (66164) in January 2019 and is due to take delivery of another in the next few weeks. That aircraft (66632) has already been assembled and has been seen at Paine Field (PAE):

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