Lufthansa Cargo is weighing up further orders of short- and mid-haul-sized freighters but there are no further plans for orders of widebody all-cargo aircraft.
The Frankfurt-hubbed airline has ordered a series of freighters over the last couple of years as it looks to modernise its freighter fleet, expand capacity, replace the MD-11F aircraft it has retired and move into the intra-European e-commerce market.
Lufthansa operates 11 Boeing 777Fs, while its AeroLogic joint venture with DHL operates five of the aircraft for Lufthansa. The German carrier also has two Airbus A321Fs, which are operated by sister airline CityLine and are used on European services for e-commerce customers.
It also has a further two 777Fs on order – part of an order for three of the aircraft placed last year – which are due to be delivered in the third and fourth quarter of this year.
Speaking on a recent results briefing, Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Dorothea von Boxberg said that the first of these aircraft will be operated by AeroLogic, while a decision has yet to be taken on the second.
Elsewhere, a further two A321Fs are due to be delivered this year and the carrier has also ordered seven new-generation 777-8F freighters. Delivery of the latter is expected between 2027 and 2030.
Looking ahead, Boxberg says there are no plans for widebody freighters but there are talks over more freighters to cater for European e-commerce demand.
“Given the orders we have already made in the long-haul segment, I don’t expect any more orders soon because until 2030 we will get quite a few aircraft,” she says. “On the short- and mid-haul size arena [there could be more orders]. Up to now, it’s four and we will have the discussion as to what size should this fleet grow and that will be a discussion this year and maybe a decision next year.”
Boxberg says that its intra-European freighter flights had so far been a success but have proved difficult with just two freighters. “These aircraft are meant to cater for the demand in e-commerce but also customers in e-commerce want to have a reliable solution which is not so easy to do if you only have two aircraft,” she says.
“We see a lot of demand in that so we need to build more capacity and have more discussions with our customers to get this going. The first year has already proven quite nice on the results side.”
Earlier this month, the cargo business reported record revenues and operating profits last year despite volumes being flat on 2021 levels.