Lufthansa Cargo is preparing to set up a new joint freight operation with express freight specialist DHL, according to German competition authorities.

The two sides already work together through the Aerologic freight partnership created in 2004, as well as other specialised operations such as the US-based LifeConEx.

Current co-operation is set to tighten with the opening of DHL's new European hub in Leipzig-Halle, with Lufthansa Cargo set to transfer flight operations to the new base, discontinuing services at Cologne.

Lufthansa Cargo declines to comment, but confirms that the German competition authority posted a notice of the two businesses' application for regulatory clearance and that an official briefing will take place within weeks.

Recent media reports suggest that Lufthansa Cargo and DHL will each take 50% of the new operation, which would be launched in 2009 with a fleet of 10 aircraft - either Boeing 747 or 777 freighters.

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Source: Flight International