The freight daughter of the German airline is in the middle of a fleet rollover, replacing their remaining 12 MD-11Fs with fuel efficient, more productive and ecologically friendlier Boeing 777 freighters. But the dice have not been cast yet when exactly the last of the freight carrier’s aging MD-11Fs will operate its final flight in LHC colors. It could be next year or in 2025 – at the latest.
Plans for additional B777 freighters
The alleged fast MD-11F exit was triggered by indications made by Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr at an Investor Day event on 24 June. Among the many tables and diagrams presented by the executive was a single chart showing various aircraft types to be withdrawn from the fleet of Lufthansa, including the MD-11 freighters. In this context the executive mentioned that Lufthansa Cargo might get additional B777 freighters in 2020, depending on their business results.
Following Mr Spohr’s presentation, rumors were spread by some media, insinuating Lufthansa Cargo’s imminent MD-11F exit.
B777Fs reduce greenhouse gas footprint
With that said, Jacqueline Casini, LH Cargo’s Communication and Marketing Chief pointed out that the fleet issue depends on the firm decision by relevant Lufthansa bodies, finally also from the Lufthansa supervisory board to give the green light for the additional 777Fs indicated by Herr Spohr.
However, the controllers haven’t given their thumbs-up yet. Should they refuse, LH Cargo will most likely continue operating some units of their aging workhorse MD-11F until 2025 – at the latest. By then, the “youngest” MD-11 freighter, acquired in 2000 and operated by the freight airline since then, will have reached the age of 25 years. Time to say goodbye, because Lufthansa automatically disposes of all aircraft older than a quarter of a century.
However, it can be assumed that keeping some of the MD-11Fs in the fleet until the mid-20ies, is not exactly the option preferred by LH Cargo CEO Peter Gerber and his management. This is confirmed by Mrs Casini: “A quick fleet rollover is desirable for both economic and environmental reasons, because operating B777Fs reduce our carbon footprint significantly compared to the MD-11F.”
To wrap the carrier’s fleet issue up - all is in flux, “panta rei,” as the ancient Greeks used to say.
This also applies to AeroLogic, the DHL Express / Lufthansa Cargo 50/50 joint venture. One of the Leipzig, Saxony-based freight carrier’s B777Fs is entirely operated on Lufthansa Cargo routes and marketed by their sales force. A second Triple Seven also fully managed by LH Cargo is expected to join AeroLogic’s fleet next fall making it a total of four B777Fs by then flying in AeroLogic colors on behalf of Lufthansa Cargo.
Final remark from Communications Chief Jacqueline Casini: “Regardless of the pending decision on the fate of our sub-fleet of MD-11 freighters, the capacity we offer to the market will not shrink over the years.”
Equally clear and unambiguous words.
Tomorrow (30 July) the carrier will present the business figures for the first half of 2019. It can be expected that they won’t be favorable in a year-on-year comparison.