The Frankfurt-based freight carrier started serving Chengdu, located in China’s Sichuan Province. A Boeing 777 freighter capable of transporting roughly 100 tons per flight is being
operated on the Frankfurt-Chengdu-Shanghai-Frankfurt sector.
Meanwhile, LH boss Carsten Spohr reinforced his earlier criticism on Frankfurt operator Fraport AG concerning the services rendered and the airport’s price policy.
The inaugural flight took place on May 5, carried out almost like a secret mission not noticed by many outside the Lufthansa cosmos. But internally, the step was applauded, as demonstrated by
Frank Naeve, Vice President Asia Pacific at Lufthansa Cargo. “We are very proud of now serving the western Chinese mega city of Chengdu twice a week. This extension to our network will allow us
to offer solutions for the booming markets in the west of China,” reads Mr Naeve’s statement on his LinkedIn account.
Fifth destination in Greater China
The flights depart Frankfurt every Saturday and Monday, landing in Chengdu first, continue their journey to Shanghai and return nonstop from Pudong to Rhine-Main. After arrival, Lufthansa Cargo connects the imports to final destinations in Europe, Africa or even North and Latin America on board their freighter fleet or within the holds of the airline’s passenger aircraft.
Chengdu is the carrier’s fifth freighter destination in Greater China, joining Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. This is complemented by belly capacity offered by Lufthansa and its hub airlines in Nanjing, Qingdao and Shenyang. Due to the further network enlargement, LH Cargo is able to cement its prominent role as one of the leading freight airlines connecting the European with the Chinese market.
Spohr demands Fraport to up service level
At Lufthansa’s general meeting of shareholders, held in Frankfurt on 8 May, CEO Carsten Spohr renewed and intensified his criticism on Frankfurt Airport. “Rhine-Main remains being the most expensive airport within our hub system,” exclaimed the manager in his address to the shareholders. “Both the security and ID controls of passengers take much too long and transfer times are often insufficient.”
His statement that the airport does not currently meet his airline’s premium quality expectations can be understood as a direct warning to the Fraport management. “Instead of further growing in Frankfurt we will expand our activities in Zurich, Vienna and Munich,” said Spohr, the other three European hubs served by the LH Group of Airlines. The traffic transition has already begun, seen by the relocation of 5 of the carrier’s 14 Airbus A380s from Frankfurt to Munich.
In a first reaction Fraport Chief Stefan Schulte said that the Federal Police is responsible for ID controls, not airport operator Fraport. “Unfortunately, they are notoriously understaffed,” he regretted. As to Spohr’s high-price allegation Schulte remained tight-lipped.