Lufthansa Cargo to keep MD-11Fs beyond 2020

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Lufthansa Cargo plans to keep its ageing Boeing MD-11 freighters in operation beyond 2020, with some staying in service for another 15 years.

Chief executive Karl Ulrich Garnadt made the revelation at the carrier's 2012 financial results presentation in Frankfurt on 21 March.

Although the Frankfurt-based freighter operator has five Boeing 777 Freighters on order - two of which will arrive in the autumn - it has yet to determine whether these will be used for fleet growth or as a replacement for the MD-11s.

Lufthansa Cargo cut capacity by around 8% in 2012 to maintain profitability. The carrier did not mothball any of its freighters, but route and frequency reductions were equivalent to removing up to two MD-11Fs from its fleet, it says.

Garnadt adds that Lufthansa Cargo will operate both types "far beyond 2020" and that some of the MD-11Fs could be further deployed for up to 15 years.

He says the cost of the older aircraft has been mostly paid off, and as such it can afford to keep them on the ground to be utilised as required as flexible capacity in addition to the core 777F fleet.

Two further 777Fs will join the fleet in 2014, with the final aircraft to follow in 2015.