The anticipated fleet rollover at Lufthansa Cargo that CFG reported exclusively on 23 OCT 19, has today been confirmed by a Lufthansa Cargo press representative. By the end of 2020, the airline will operate a uniform fleet of Boeing 777 freighters, of which nine will bear the traditional Lufthansa livery, while four more are operated by joint-venture partner AeroLogic.
CFG wrote on 23 OCT 19 that “Lufthansa Cargo is determined to phase out the last of their remaining eleven MD-11 freighters which once totaled 18 units by the end of 2020 or
shortly after, hence, much earlier as previously announced. From then on, LHC will operate a uniform fleet of Boeing 777Fs, […]. However, this fleet swap is still pending the management’s formal
Lufthansa Cargo stated today that it will be significantly accelerating its fleet modernization and that the Lufthansa Group and Supervisory Board have given their approval for the purchase of a further two Boeing 777F aircraft.
High efficiency is the reason for the roll-over to 777F
The planes are due to be delivered in 2020 and will be based in Frankfurt, bringing the total number of Lufthansa Cargo operated 777F to nine. The roll-over to 777F is being done for the same reason as the initial move from 747F to MD-11F back in 1998: their high efficiency.
Peter Gerber, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo explained: “We are investing in maximum reliability and significantly lower emissions. The modernization of our fleet is the biggest contribution we can make to the future in the short term. We combine responsibility for our company with corporate responsibility.”
Head of Communications, Andreas Pauker added to this that once the two additional Triple Sevens are operational, the fleet rollover is completed. He also pointed out that, due to the constant fleet growth of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, the belly capacity available for the transporting air freight has increased, along with LH Cargo's global reach through the parent company's extended passenger network.
2020 marks the end of a difficult aircraft fleet
Certainly, the B777F will prove a better investment than the MD-11F. At the time when Lufthansa Cargo began their 7-year roll-over from 747F to a final fleet of 18 MD-11F in 1998, MD-11s were being taken out of passenger service by most airlines, due to their safety issues, and McDonnell Douglas stopped manufacturing the aircraft type shortly afterwards. In fact, the last two MD-11Fs to be assembled in the year 2000, were headed for Lufthansa Cargo early the following year, and, in total, McDonnell Douglas only manufactured 200 MD-11 aircraft instead of the originally planned 300. After McDonnell Douglas was taken over by Boeing, the Seattle-based manufacturer decided to cease further production of the MD-11 in order to concentrate on their own models which were more in demand.
The MD-11 has always been known as difficult aircraft to land and there have been a number of instances over the years where MD-11F operating airlines have suffered crashes because of a too high landing speed, resulting in the plane bouncing and becoming damaged. Lufthansa Cargo’s own incident in Saudi Arabia in 2010, where luckily the crew survived, is a case in point. Added to this, the technical reliability of a fleet that has an average age of over 20 years, is also problematic. So, the MD-11’s days are numbered, and the remaining ten MD-11 freighters are planned to be withdrawn from the fleet by the end of 2020, confirms the airline.
777F is an improvement regarding environmental impact
The 777Fs that have been phased in over the past few years, have an average fleet age of around 4 years, and are indeed more efficient given their larger cargo capacity and range. This means that the same cargo performance can be achieved with significantly less aircraft movements.
“Once the 777F fleet is complete, Lufthansa Cargo's customers will have access to the same freighter
capacity as they had when all eighteen MD-11Fs were in operation. On top of this, LH Cargo also has direct access to the cargo capacity of four B777F operated by partner AeroLogic and further 8
B777F thast are jointly utilized," illustrates Mr Pauker.
This includes routes joint ventures with ANA Cargo, United Cargo and Cathay Pacific Cargo, which are based on metal neutrality and offer the participating airlines a variety of transport options
on intercontinental routes.
From an environmental impact point of view, the twin-engine Boeing 777F is around 20 percent more efficient than the MD-11 and emits less CO2. Plus, the latest model meets the strict noise protection requirements of ICAO Annex 16, Volume I, Chapter 14.
Lufthansa Cargo’s freight capacities extend beyond its own freighter fleet to the bellies of the Lufthansa Group airlines: Lufthansa German Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and SunExpress. The total cargo split freighter/passenger bellies is about 50%.
In a separate press release issued by the Lufthansa Group today (7 Nov), the weak market conditions of the global freight business during the first nine months 2019 has also significantly affected LH Cargo. The carrier slipped into the red, reporting losses of €33 million (previous year €162 mn) due to the continuing weak demand, especially in Asia.
Brigitte Gledhill / Heiner Siegmund
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