It’s perishable season in Egypt. To get the goods harvested in the fertile Nile Delta fast to European consumer markets, Lufthansa Cargo substantially ups its freighter flights to Cairo. We spoke with Andreas Loeffler, General Manager North & Northeast Africa.
Q: Andreas, LH Cargo is currently upping its main deck capacity on routes between Central Europe and Egypt. Could you deliver specifics and reveal what’s behind this sharp
A: Yes indeed, we currently increased our capacity offer from Egypt to Europe substantially to meet seasonal demand of the perishable industry during the peak season in December and January.
Q: How many LH freighter flights do you expect altogether until the end of next January and is LH Cargo’s new flagship, the Boeing 777F part of the Cairo services?
A: On top of the 4 weekly scheduled services into Cairo Airport we expect to operate a significant amount of extra sections till the end of January. Additional 15% capacity will be added by operating our new B777F on the route to CAI from December 25th till January 10th.
Q: In average, you operate four freighter flights each week between Cairo and Frankfurt. What is the exact routing of these services?
A: Two freighters operate direct to Frankfurt and 2 operate via MXP to FRA.
Q: In comparing the Egyptian cargo market with those of the neighboring Arabian countries: Which role does it play and in what aspects does it differ from – say – Saudi Arabia, Israel or the southern Mediterranean countries stretching from Libya till Morocco?
A: Egypt is one of the most important air cargo markets in the region with a huge consumer market (population 80 Mio.) stimulating imports and a well-developed produce industry being the backbone for exports. The country’s central geographical position within the Arabian belt is ideal for its role as a trans-regional distribution centre. With the exception of Israel there is no neighboring country offering similar export potentials other than Egypt. Their main strength was and remains being the booming perishable business, which makes them an attractive air freight market.
Q: Finally, what’s the export / import ratio of LH Cargo transported air freight to and from Egypt and what will your total tonnage presumably be in 2014?
A: The export / import ratio of LH Cargo transported airfreight was always at 35% vs. 65% for years. However, this year we expect to better balance the ratio and estimate to transport approximately more than 15 thousand tons with approximately 45% import and 55% export share.