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Lufthansa, DHL to lease 11 777Fs for new joint carrier

Lufthansa Cargo and freight specialist DHL Express are to use a fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters for their new joint cargo carrier, further details of which have been released today.

The carrier, as yet unnamed, is to be based at the new DHL hub in Leipzig-Halle and will be equally owned by the two companies.

Lufthansa Cargo, which is also to construct its own logistics centre at Leipzig, says that the carrier will start operations in April 2009 and concentrate on air freight and express transport to Asia.

Initial destinations in the region will include Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Nagoya, Almaty and Astana.

But the airline will also serve Dubai and Sharjah in the Middle East, Milan and East Midlands in Europe, and the US destinations of New York and Chicago.

Lufthansa Cargo says that the network will be developed from summer 2009 pending its obtaining necessary traffic rights. The carrier will lease the 777 freighters but has not disclosed the source of the jets. They will be delivered in February 2009.

"Joint utilisation of aircraft capacities will enable us to harness growth opportunities cost-efficiently," says Lufthansa Cargo chairman Carsten Spohr.

The carrier will be managed by Lufthansa Cargo’s Thomas Papke and DHL’s Thomas Pusch.

While Lufthansa Cargo and DHL Express will jointly use the freight capacity of the new carrier they will market their services independently.

DHL Express’ aviation chief Charles Graham says that the new joint venture will enable the two sides to improve express freight transport between Europe and the growth markets in Asia.

"Our customers will profit from more capacity, better transit times and higher quality all-round," he says. Lufthansa Cargo and DHL already co-operate through their freight partnership, Aerologic, created in 2004.

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