Lufthansa Cargo is planning close partnerships with other freight carriers, although this would not lead to an international airline co-operation similar to its parent carrier’s Star Alliance network, it says.
The Frankfurt-based freight operator has been discussing potential partnerships with a number of other airlines for some time. The talks have progressed far with two airlines and are "well on the way" for planned start of a collaboration in mid-2014, Lufthansa Cargo tells Flightglobal Pro.
However, this would be with a single partner on a strictly bilateral basis, the airline says. Additional collaborations with other carriers could be arranged at a later time, but these would also be made on similar terms and would not lead to a multilateral network, it says.
Lufthansa Cargo established a multilateral collaboration with the freight arms of Star Alliance partners SAS and Singapore Airlines in 2000. Dubbed WOW, the venture was later joined by Japan Airlines’ cargo division too. But it was dissolved again in 2009 because, as Lufthansa puts it, the partnership was not sufficiently integrated through, for example, interlinked reservation systems.
Any future collaboration would need to be much closer, with well-connected IT systems and common quality standards, says Lufthansa Cargo. This would allow the partners to market their combined capacity together and utilise each other’s networks.
But such close co-operation would require bilateral agreements, says Lufthansa Cargo. It adds that if there were multiple partners, those partners would not automatically collaborate among themselves.