Lufthansa Cargo expands its reach further by taking over the entire air freight activities of low cost carrier Eurowings as of 27 March, when this year’s summer schedule starts. This is a model case of Austrian Airlines that dissolved its cargo department in summer of 2012, thereby placing it in the hands of LH Cargo.
That’s an unexpected change of opinion: only weeks ago it looked as if Lufthansa would opt for outsourcing Eurowings’ cargo business by handing it over to an independent cargo sales agent. This
was indicated by a leading LH executive who spoke of an “unbeatable offer we received,” when questioned by CargoForwarder Global as to who would market the lower deck capacity of Eurowings’
Airbus A330 long-haul fleet in future.
Now this is all old hat because in the meantime he and his board colleagues have obviously made a u-turn in their decision making process, shelving any outsourcing plans and opting instead for an in-house solution by handing over all air freight related matters at newcomer Eurowings to Lufthansa Cargo. Credible sources within the German airline have unofficially confirmed this to CargoForwarder Global. They said “the dice have been cast” and LH Cargo would announce taking over Eurowings’ cargo related matters “within days.” The operation, however, is limited to the low cost carrier’s intercontinental flights, because similar to other budget airlines Eurowings strictly refrains from transporting any freight in the holds of their narrow body fleet on regional or domestic routes.
Lufthansa’s low cost ray of hope
The newcomer EW was stamped out of the ground by parent Lufthansa for mainly two reasons: firstly, to keep air travelers on board by offering them an option to the fast growing Ryanairs, Easyjets, Wizz Airs, Norwegians and others. Secondly, because of the fact that an increasing number of people book a flight for leisure reasons, a price sensitive clientele that is not interested in paying higher tariffs demanded by EW’s parent Lufthansa.
Based on these observations, Eurowings’ network was shaped, with the intercontinental part of it focusing for instance on touristic destinations such as Thailand, Dominican Republic or Cuba. With two passenger A330s in its fleet, the carrier currently operates six intercontinental routes. They are based at Eurowings’ gateway Cologne Airport as will be further additions that are still to come, like two additional A330s in April and May with two more following in autumn. So before the year ends, Eurowings will operate six A330s on intercontinental routes.
Due to its capability of stowing roughly 15 tons of cargo per flight in its holds this Airbus variant is known as being a very cargo friendly aircraft, making it an interesting vehicle for the market.
According to internal LH channels, Lufthansa Cargo will base a small team at Cologne Airport to manage and overview the operations. Whether sales initiatives are part of their duties remains to be seen. It is more than likely however that all Eurowings’ sales will be steered by LH Cargo’s capacity management people in Frankfurt.
Heiner Siegmund / John Mc Donagh