The integrator has secured additional transportation capacity, based on two deals inked last week. On Wednesday (24FEB21), DHL and SmartLynx Malta signed a partnership agreement aimed at introducing two P2F-converted A321-200 aircraft to DHL’s fleet. A day later (25FEB21), DHL and leisure airline Condor reached an accord on B767 capacity utilization.
Condor is entrusting four of its passenger B767s to its new partner DHL. The first “preighter” flight under the new partnership took off last week once the seats had been removed from the cabin to accommodate packages there instead. All four Condor aircraft will be based at Leipzig Airport (LEJ), DHL’s main hub, and be operated on intra-European routes, connecting LEJ with Shannon, Ireland / Milan-Malpensa, Italy / and Cologne, Germany.
Short term collaboration
Market observers speak of a typical win-win deal: DHL needs additional air transport capacity triggered by the booming e-commerce business, while leisure airline Condor has an abundance of passenger aircraft but can only operate a limited number of units due to the near standstill in holiday travel.
“This partnership allows us to react even faster and more flexibly to the continued high demand for international express service. The additional capacity through Condor enables us to further improve service quality and transit times, and maintain our growth trajectory,” Markus Otto, Senior VP Aviation Europe at DHL Express, commented. However, the cooperation is only for a short time. It ends on 31MAY21, with Condor expecting that leisure travel will again have picked up by then.
Since the early days of the airline, Condor has flown air freight in the lower deck compartments of its passenger fleet, though at a rather low level. At least until last year, when “we began flying more cargo and continued to build on our air freight expertise,” Condor COO, Christian Schmitt stated. The manager went on to say: “The partnership (with DHL) also demonstrates Condor’s ability to adjust to unusual situations and, in this case, to work together with DHL to make an important contribution to maintaining international supply chains.”
Praise for A321-200F
Prior to the DHL-Condor agreement, the integrator and SmartLynx Malta had also decided to cooperate. The accord enables DHL to use the capacity of two A321-200 P2F-converted freighter aircraft according to the integrator’s requirements. Additional air cargo capacity is needed to cope with the current avalanche of e-commerce shipments as well as important protective and medical goods, states DHL Express. Another reason for opting in favor of the two A321 freighters is their fuel efficiency, leading to superior unit reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to similar class freighter models, in this way improving DHL’s global CO2 footprint, the integrator emphasizes.
SmartLynx Malta is supposed to add two further A321Fs during 2021, and up to four units during 2022, with the business target of becoming one of the largest narrow-body cargo freight carriers within the next three years. These fleet visions were indicated by the carrier’s CEO Zygimantas Surintas when announcing the DHL partnership.
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