LH Cargo has been using this summer to operate trial cargo flights to Vietnam.
It seems that these have been successful as the German national carrier’s freighter arm has decided to operate regularly as of this winter schedule.
Vietnam was slated some time back as being one of the new Asian tiger economies.
The development of this market for air freight was slowed somewhat during the past couple of years along with other countries within the South East Asian region.
That seems to have changed now and hence LH Cargo’s decision to put Vietnam permanently into their freighter network.
The carrier plans to operate from Frankfurt to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) with a weekly Boeing 777F.
Flights will depart Thursdays and route via Mumbai and continue from SGN onto Hong Kong.
The Boeing 777F can carry up to 110 tons and Vietnamese shippers will have to share space with their Mumbai and Hong Kong counterparts.
It is not revealed how much space will be allocated to the Vietnamese importers and exporters on this flight.
The LH Cargo network management program will decide which rates / revenues will be most attractive at the end of the day.
First LH service to Vietnam
Frank Naeve the new VP Asia-Pacific for LH Cargo is quoted as saying that “we are proud to have built up excellent relationships with our clients in Vietnam, which we will now be further cultivating with the fixed freighter connection and we are constantly working on making our network in the Asia-Pacific region even more attractive for our customers.“
Lufthansa does not operate any long haul passenger service to either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, and leaves this sector to Vietnam Airlines daily B777 pax flights. So this new service will surely also be welcomed by shippers in Germany for the expanding trade growth between both countries.
Decision nears on new Joint Venture partner
Our colleagues at Loadstar reported last week that the decision for the new LH cargo J/V partner is still not public but should be by the end of this year.
There has been quite some speculation as to which airline will follow on the recent LH/ANA cargo joint venture.
Our bet, as is with many others, is that it will be United. This would be the most plausible answer as both United and LH have antitrust immunity, as does ANA with United.
Makes life somewhat easier.
We’ll see what the end of the year brings.
Fleet plans still remain an open question
LH Cargo is still operating a majority of their flights with the venerable MD-11 freighters but has their first five B777Fs now in service.
Due to the company internal cost cutting program, it remains to be seen whether the options on the next five B777Fs will be taken up by Lufthansa.
Let’s hope they do as this aircraft has proven to be “the freighter” for the coming years.
John Mc Donagh
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