In 2011, Lufthansa Cargo Charter, the carrier’s charter subsidiary, reported an operating loss of €400,000. Things did not improve in 2012, a year that featured overcapacity in the market, low rates, and aggressive competition from airlines based in the Middle East. But those problems were compounded by the fact that some charter brokers, fairly or unfairly, were unhappy about giving business to Lufthansa Cargo because they viewed it as a competitor (through its ownership of Lufthansa Cargo Charters).
At the end of last year, Lufthansa Cargo announced that it planned to integrate the formerly standalone Cargo Charter subsidiary into its own operations, but declined to say whether the move signaled the end for its charter brokerage business. Two and a half months later, the answer comes in the form of a joint announcement by Lufthansa Cargo and UK-based charter broker Chapman Freeborn.
Effective 1 April, Lufthansa Cargo will offer only its own capacity on a charter basis, and Chapman Freeborn will take over the third-party charter business formerly handled by Lufthansa Cargo Charter.
How will this work? According to a Lufthansa Cargo spokesperson, “If customers require other aircraft to charter, they will work with Chapman Freeborn.” Whether this will appease the worries of other charter brokers remains to be seen. Those who did not want to deal with Lufthansa Cargo because it was a competitor (through the Lufthansa Cargo Charter subsidiary) may not be any happier to see Lufthansa Cargo in partnership with another competitor (Chapman Freeborn). We shall see