FRANKFURT, Ger.–Europe’s leading cargo airline is turning 20. On November 30, two decades ago Deutsche Lufthansa AG pooled its cargo activities in a separate company. This was the birth of Lufthansa Cargo. Airfreight had always been an important business for Lufthansa and its predecessor companies. But the significance of its cargo activities surged when it created an independent company. Not only did it integrate the cargo business of Deutsche Lufthansa but the cargo flights formerly performed first by German Cargo and later by Lufthansa Cargo Airlines GmbH became a major pillar of the business, said a company release commemorating the anniversary.
Under Lufthansa Cargo’s first CEO, Wilhelm Althen, the team was able to offer its customers all of the group’s freight capacities – be it on board its own freighters or on the cargo decks of passenger aircraft.
A few weeks after its official foundation Lufthansa Cargo started operating with a fleet of five McDonnell Douglas DC8 freighters, ten Boeing 747-200Fs and two Boeing 737 freighters in January 1995. 20 years later Lufthansa Cargo flies both with MD-11F and brand-new B777 freighters. The new jets with a maximum payload of 103 tonnes generate less noise and lower emissions, and are more economical than all other freighters of their class. Not only have the aircraft models changed over the years. Lufthansa Cargo is also a digital pioneer of the business. The cargo airline invests in cutting-edge IT and is pushing its goal of being digitally networked with all players of the logistics chain from booking to delivery by 2020, said the company.
“The foundation of Lufthansa Cargo as an independent company in the 1990s paved the way to a hitherto unheard-of professionalization of airfreight”, points out Peter Gerber, the current CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. “Cargo went from by-product to core business that now accounts for almost ten per cent of sales of the Lufthansa Group.”
“We are shaping up Lufthansa Cargo for the future with the largest investment programme in our company’s history”, said Gerber, who noted that customers of the cargo airline will benefit from investments in new efficient aircraft, state-of-the-art IT, digital processes and, not least, in the most modern logistics centre of the air cargo industry.
Julia Kuzeljevich is Editor of Canadian Shipper. She has been writing about transportation and logistics issues since 1999. All posts by Julia Kuzeljevich