The Frankfurt-based carrier ups its Boeing 777 freighter fleet step by step. In previous announcement the management spoke of three Triple Seven freighters that they intended to add to their B777F fleet of five aircraft this year. In a release issued today (16 January) they disclosed plans for a fourth additional B777F. In all, this comprises a jump in transport capacity of nearly 400 tons. And this mustn’t be the end of the line.
The decision by the freight airline’s management must be music in the ears of carrier AeroLogic, a 50/50% JV of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo. This, because the additional B777F announced by
LHC will be operated by the Leipzig-based capacity provider. It will up AeroLogic’s fleet to twelve Triple Seven freighters, with two of them operated by AeroLogic crews but flying exclusively on
behalf of stakeholder LH Cargo, covering some of their routes.
The decision is based on an agreement between the management and the strike-experienced LH Cargo pilots, allowing the carrier to have some of their aircraft operated by partner AeroLogic. The pilot union’s okay came after LH Cargo’s executives assured their cockpit crews that the carrier’s own B777 freighter fleet will grow simultaneously to the AeroLogic deal and none of their existing Triple Sevens would be transited to the Leipzig-based sister company thus not jeopardizing any of their pilot’s jobs.
Favorable cost structure
It’s no real surprise that AeroLogic is pleased with LH Cargo’s decision to contribute to their fleet growth, as stated by Wolfgang Raebiger, Managing Director Finance of AeroLogic GmbH: “We are contributing to the success of both of our partners through our flexibility. We are happy that AeroLogic, offering one of the most modern and efficient freighter fleets in the world, is continuing to grow at Leipzig Airport.”
From LH Cargo’s point of view having two B777Fs operated by partner AeroLogic makes a lot of sense because it saves money due to the JV’s lower cost structure.
According to LH Cargo, the fourth B777F is expected to arrive in fall, while the other three Triple Sevens announced earlier, will arrive in the weeks ahead. Two of the three aircraft are purchased from Boeing and will join the LHC fleet with the third that will fly in AeroLogic livery being leased.
No retirement of MD-11Fs announced
LH Cargo CEO Peter Gerber enthuses: “We are delighted to be in a position to put four brand-new freighters into operation this year. This will effectively modernize our own fleet at our Frankfurt Airport base and further boost our efficiency and reliability. At the same time, we are focusing as a shareholder on growing AeroLogic, our fifty-fifty joint venture with DHL Express at Leipzig Airport.”
He made no announcement of retiring some of their aging MD-11Fs, of which 12 are in operation, and replacing them with B777Fs. In an earlier statement he spoke of an intended fleet renewal taking place until 2024.
AeroLogic which was founded in 2007 currently operates ten Boeing Triple Seven freighters. DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo jointly use the cargo capacity of eight of these aircraft. The capacity of two freighters is available exclusively to DHL Express, with two B777Fs being marketed solely by LH Cargo once the aircraft have arrived. Both shareholders are also responsible for sales, warehousing and handling.