Airlines cannot operate intercontinental services without a successful freight division, and Lufthansa has no intention of scrapping its freighters, says Lufthansa Cargo chief executive officer, Peter Gerber.
While sea freight is cheaper than airfreight, Gerber points out that air is the only sensible option for high value goods, just in time logistics and products which need to be on the market quickly. On Lufthansa intercontinental flights, 11 per cent of revenue comes from cargo.
Speaking in Tokyo, Gerber says: “You cannot operate intercontinental without successful freight, 11 per cent of revenue comes from cargo revenue. When you look at the margins, you cannot do it without successfully selling bellyhold capacity.”
He also says while other airlines are cutting or scrapping freighter fleets, Lufthansa has no such intentions. The latest Boeing 777 Freighter to be added to Lufthansa’s fleet arrived in Frankfurt on 12 February, as part of its 2020 programme. This programme will phase out its Boeing MD-11 Freighters. Gerber describes the 777F as: “Not only a beautiful aircraft, but also economically very sound.”
Gerber adds: “When people talk about freighters, they say we don’t need freighters. We had a closer look at this. if you look at the numbers that is not true.”
He says so far customers are happy with the joint sales venture with All Nippon Airways (ANA) Cargo, which started Japan to Europe shipments on 1 December. Lufthansa predicts joint sales will be available for Europe to Japan in the middle of 2015.
The airline says in December and January there were 250 additional shipments. ANA and Lufthansa are jointly operating at Narita, Haneda and Nagoya airports in Japan, and at Dusseldorf and Frankfurt airports in Germany, and are due to start at Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich on 23 February.
Gerber says: “When it comes to customer benefits, I didn’t hear any complaints. I think for the moment they are quite happy with the speed and the coverage.”
Lufthansa says the joint venture gives customers the advantage of increased capacity and destinations, one drop-off point at airports and a more reliable service. The airline says it benefits from a wider customer base, more destinations and capacity and reduced feeder costs.