Lufthansa Cargo expects to add to its fleet another 777F this year but, unlike the nine others it has received so far, this one will not be newly ordered from Boeing.
The carrier, which in announcing its 2020 results also said it plans to grow its 777F fleet to ten units this fall, confirmed to Cargo Facts that the freighter will be sourced from the used market and leased.
Lufthansa Cargo also told Cargo Facts that the timeline for the withdrawal of its three remaining MD-11Fs “basically remains unchanged,” with the last unit currently expected to leave the fleet this fall. The carrier, which postponed the retirement of half of the MD-11Fs to 2021, said when it took its ninth 777F last September that it had yet to finalize a definite timeframe for the MD-11F phase-out.
Lufthansa Cargo took on two new 777Fs and removed three MD-11Fs (48801, 48782 and 48800) from service in 2020. Another (48803) was withdrawn in February. The latter two have joined the UPS fleet.
With a few more MD-11Fs to replace and amid a wider groupwide decision to downsize the passenger fleet by eight intercontinental aircraft types numbering a total of 115 units, including A340-600s, A380s, 747-400s and 767-300ERs, perhaps it does not come as a surprise that the cargo arm of Lufthansa is seeking to increase the scale of its dedicated freighter fleet.
As for where Lufthansa Cargo might look to secure a used 777F, while the platform is highly sought after, especially in the current market, there may be several frames coming off lease later this year, such as unit 35612, which Emirates is leasing from DAE Capital.
It is also possible the carrier could assume the lease of, or acquire, one of the 777Fs currently in the fleet of AeroLogic, Lufthansa Cargo’s JV with DHL Express. AeroLogic operates a fleet of seventeen 777Fs.
A newly ordered 777F would likely not be delivered until at least 2022 or 2023. However, separate from the used 777F, the Lufthansa Group’s annual report also shows what appears to be a new firm order for one 777F with delivery scheduled for 2024, along with an additional option. Lufthansa told Cargo Facts that this refers to the drawing of a purchase option for a leased aircraft currently operating in the AeroLogic fleet.
For more on Lufthansa’s Q4 earnings, see the story on our sister publication, Air Cargo World.
Cargo Facts Asia, taking place April 20-21 as a virtual experience, is the event for exploring opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region. The event continues to bring together the best, brightest, and most innovative executives in the global air cargo industry. Learn more and register at www.cargofactsasia.com.
[Edited to add further confirmation from Lufthansa Cargo.]