Lufthansa Cargo has signed an agreement that could result in transferring its Asian freight hub to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, if the airport's navigation systems are improved.
The airline plans to begin test flights to Krasnoyarsk this summer following a memorandum of understanding with the airport's operator and Russian carrier group AirUnion.
Lufthansa Cargo, which uses Kazakhstan as a transit point, has faced Russian pressure to operate from Krasnoyarsk. But the airline has resisted, citing inadequate navigation infrastructure at the Siberian airport.
The new agreement says all sides will "create all operational and commercial prerequisites" for Lufthansa Cargo to use the airport as a stopping point for Europe-Asia services.
Crucially, these prerequisites include modernising the instrument landing system to ICAO Category 2 capability, to reduce the risk of poor weather interrupting the carrier's operations.
Lufthansa Cargo says the modernisation should be finished and approved by the end of this year.
"Within the following five months, all further preparatory work should be completed, so we will then start regular flight operations via Krasnoyarsk," says the carrier, which will carry out a series of test flights in June.