Lufthansa Cargo eyes more joint ventures

loading MD11Building on the success of the 2014 joint venture with Japan’s ANA, Lufthansa Cargo is in talks with other parties interested in a similar arrangement. CEO Peter Gerber spoke at the company’s annual press conference on Thursday, Reuters reported, but said he could not give any other details about which companies he is in talks with due to antitrust approvals needed for such a partnership.

Gerber said the first two months of 2015 have been good, and with low fuel prices and a weak euro supporting exports from Germany, he expects it to be a good year. The company’s 2014 annual report states Lufthansa Cargo’s operating profit of €100 million for the year was up 26.6 percent compared to 2013, with a cargo load factor of 69.9 percent, up 0.8 percent. Cargo traffic for the year was down 1.4 percent from 8.73 billion revenue tonne kilometers (RTKs) in 2013 to 8.61 billion in 2014, while capacity declined 0.8 percent to 12.35 billion RTKs.

The ANA partnership, which started in December 2014, enabled Lufthansa to send an extra 300 consignments via ANA’s aircraft that it would otherwise not have been able to accommodate because its own aircraft were already full. The partnership with ANA covers routes from Japan to Europe, and will be expanded to include service from Europe to Japan this summer.

Lufthansa Cargo has been plagued with pilot’s strikes since October 2014, including one that began last week. The carrier wants to build a new €700 million cargo center in Frankfurt and would like to exercise some of its options to order more 777 freighters from Boeing, but Gerber said, “given the situation in the group with the labor strikes, it’s not getting any easier to get approval for investments.”

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