Lufthansa Cargo will lease an additional 777F from Boeing, to be operated by AeroLogic, a 50/50 joint venture between DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo, later this fall ahead of the 2019 peak season, the carrier announced today.
This latest order brings the total number of 777Fs Lufthansa Cargo and its JV carrier AeroLogic plan to add this year to four. In July 2018, Lufthansa Cargo’s board approved the purchase of two 777Fs, which are expected for delivery to Lufthansa Cargo in mid-February and March of this year. Shortly following the 777F purchase approval, Lufthansa announced it would lease a 777F from Boeing Capital, to be operated by AeroLogic beginning in early February.
As AeroLogic’s fleet expands, its business model continues to evolve. Upon delivery of the two leased freighters, AeroLogic’s fleet will grow to twelve units. The first eight 777Fs added to the AeroLogic fleet (delivered between May 2009 and July 2010) operate for DHL Express during the week and fly for Lufthansa Cargo on weekends. Last year, AeroLogic proved that it was not bound to this model of split Lufthansa/DHL Express operations when it added two ex-LATAM Cargo 777Fs, on-lease from GECAS, and put them into service exclusively for DHL Express. Looking ahead to AeroLogic’s two planned 777Fs, Lufthansa Cargo says it will manage capacity for both of the freighters.
For Lufthansa Cargo, the two 777Fs to be operated by AeroLogic suggest the carrier is looking to expand its freighter operations at Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ), where the JV carrier is based. LH Cargo’s current fleet of five 777Fs and twelve MD-11Fs serve international destinations primarily from Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub.
Returning to the Lufthansa Cargo freighter fleet, it remains to be seen how the expansion of AeroLogic’s freighter fleet will impact Lufthansa Cargo’s own fleet modernization plans. Although the two 777Fs Lufthansa Cargo purchased for its fleet are expected to replace older Lufthansa-operated MD-11Fs, it is unclear at this point if additional AeroLogic-operated 777Fs will drive further MD-11F retirements, or if Lufthansa Cargo is simply keen on adding additional capacity. The carrier continues to expand its cooperation with Cathay Pacific and United Airlines, and in November 2018, entered into a “Joint Freight Operation” with China Post. Initially, Lufthansa Cargo will provide the Post with cargo capacity between Shanghai and Frankfurt equivalent to a weekly 777F flight, but has highlighted room to expand the scope of the agreement.
Those interested in learning more about trends in air freight are invited to join us Cargo Facts EMEA, to be held 4-6 February at The Westin Grand Frankfurt, where a panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. To register or for more information, visit www.cargofactsemea.com.