China and India are the targets for Lufthansa Cargo as it sees these being the strongest Far East markets for cargo in 2017.
The carrier says it expects the strongest relative growth of export and import to come from both these countries.
Aside from the Far East it will focus its attentions on the North and South American markets, where it sees expansion opportunities.
Lufthansa Cargo is aiming and expecting to achieve high load factors throughout the year into the Far East with innovation and further digitisation key focuses in 2017.
There are no network and infrastructure plans in the Far East at the moment, but the carrier notes it will keep a close eye on any market developments to meet customer demands and will react flexibly if it needs to.
2016 was a challenging year for Lufthansa Cargo financially due to lower yields and overcapacity, while operations were affected by pilot strikes, but it was boosted by a strong fourth quarter (Q4).
Uplifted cargo volume was stable and demand in general was strong in Q4 not only with one or two-way shipments, but also with long term contracted business.
And the agreement with Japanese carrier ANA has worked out positively with partners offering their flights in a shared network on the cooperation routes. Freight is also handled at numerous stations in shared warehouses both in Japan and Europe.
The carrier says its customers now save valuable time thanks to the large numbers of additional direct connections and rapid transit times.
It is seeing good growth and cross bookings on each partner have increased year by year, and Lufthansa Cargo says the advantage of using joint venture capacities works out very well, because customers use the capacity of the other party too. It is proving most effective in situations of service recovery or capacity changes this option is very beneficial.
Lufthansa Cargo and ANA are now transporting standard and express shipments, but work is in progress to extend the offer to special shipments in the future.
The changes in capacity offered in 2016 were “outstanding” such as a Boeing 777 Freighter shared service from Tokyo Narita via Seoul to Frankfurt was introduced with a six/seven frequency replacing the MD-11 Freighter Narita to Frankfurt operation.
Lufthansa says this offers overnight service to Europe and further options for main deck cargo with larger aircraft than before and successful capacity management together with Korea made this B777F flight to one of the best commercial routes within the Lufthansa Cargo worldwide network.
For Lufthansa Cargo as a whole it seeing good growth opportunities in pharmaceuticals and gaining the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) CEIV Pharma certificate has driven this.
The carrier explains: “CEIV certification by IATA combined with further innovations and product improvements will help making us an even more attractive carrier to our customers and the pharmaceutical industry.
“With our new products td.Basic and myAirCargo which are available online we offer innovative solutions: td.Basic is an innovative basic offering, with which we enhance our product range and charting a path for growth in the standard cargo segment. myAirCargo is an innovative offer for private customers.”