Lufthansa Cargo posts strong 2010 figures

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Lufthansa Cargo has posted record profits for 2010, just a year after recording its worst-ever figures, although it does not expect a repeat performance this year.

It recorded an operating profit of €310 million ($440 million) on revenue of €2.8 billion. However, while expecting a "clearly positive operating result" for 2011, chairman and chief executive Karl Ulrich Garnadt says it does not expect a repeat of 2010's results.

Garnadt says 2010's figures were underpinned by several factors, including the swift reactivation of four freighters to take advantage of returning global trade, plus flexible network management combined with the development of new routes. As a result, revenue jumped 43% over 2009's figures.

Developments for 2011 include the order, announced earlier this month, for five Boeing 777 freighters for delivery between 2013 and 2015, expansion of the company's cargo centre in Frankfurt and the updating of its IT networks.

Garnadt says that air cargo remains indispensable to Germany's economic growth and repeats his demand for a clear, legal ruling on what he describes as economically-necessary night flights from Frankfurt.

He notes that companies such as his can only take investment decisions costing hundreds of millions of euros if they have planning security. A new building and extensive expansion can be economically justified only if the necessary night flights are allowed, he says.

On the IT front, the medium-term aim of updating the carrier's systems is to replace cargo paperwork with electronic documentation, he says.

While praising employees' efforts over the past year and noting that up to 250 new positions will be created as the company takes advantage of the growth in air freight, he cautions that continued "rigorous cost discipline" must be observed.