Lufthansa May Abandon Freighter Fleet

March 26, 2012

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Lufthansa's air freight arm may give up on its freighter fleet should a recently imposed ban on night flights at Frankfurt airport be confirmed by a court in Leipzig on April 4, the unit's chief executive told a German magazine.

The current solution of scheduling take-offs and landings only before 2200 CET and after 0500 CET was "just a stopgap. It costs money and does not pay," Karl Ulrich Garnadt told Focus, according to an article published on Monday.

If necessary Lufthansa Cargo may have to part ways with its freighter fleet in the long-term, consisting of 18 McDonnell Douglas MD 11 planes, Focus quoted Garnadt as saying.

The magazine said around half of Lufthansa Cargo's freight is transported via passenger planes.

Previously, Garnadt said the night flight ban at Frankfurt, imposed in October, would hurt earnings by around EUR€40 million (USD$53 million) a year and sales by over EUR€100 million if it were made permanent.

Lufthansa Cargo made an operating profit of EUR€249 million in 2011, but said it would be unable to replicate this in 2012 due to overcapacity, a weak Chinese market and the night flight ban at its Frankfurt hub.