Earlier this month, Lufthansa launched its inaugural 777 freighter flight from Atlanta to Manchester. Departing every Friday, it’s a new stop for the freighter as it makes its way to Frankfurt. The flight, which has a capacity of 105 tonnes, serves the carrier’s trucking network, which has approximately 10 destinations in the U.K. and Ireland.
“We received a lot of feedback from our customers and the market,” says Charles Petty, Atlanta-based district sales manager for Lufthansa Cargo. “We knew there was already demand for main-deck freighter uplift to the U.K. There wasn’t any of that coming out of Atlanta. We recognized this hole and decided to fill it. Our total frequency hasn’t changed; we just added a stop on the way back from Frankfurt.
Another driver for the Manchester stop, Petty says, is the export business out of the U.K. to the rest of the world.
Moritz Koehler, Lufthansa’s Atlanta regional manager, sales steering and controlling, says the Manchester stop was added at the same time the flight from Houston to the Norwegian oil hub of Stavanger was added. That flight was originally Houston-Manchester-Frankfurt. The new Atlanta flight was added to keep a U.S. to Manchester freighter route.
Freight shipped from Atlanta is a combination of oversized heavy machinery, automobiles and cargo specified for freighters. “We even have MRI machines,” Petty says. “It’s a general mix of all types of cargo.” The Manchester stop helps fill a void created when IAG Cargo pulled its freighters out of the Atlanta market earlier this year. “After they pulled out of the market, we did notice an uptick in the request for service to the U.K.,” he says.
The flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta carries a variety of cargo. “Atlanta is a major gateway and we use it as de-feeding point for the southern part of America,” Koehler says.
Manchester replaces JFK as a stop from Atlanta to Frankfurt. A JFK to Frankfurt flight was added, departing JFK on Thursday night. The Atlanta to Manchester flight comes at a time when Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is trying to boost its status as a cargo airport. The city recently advertised for a consultant to develop a comprehensive cargo market analysis.