Two months ago at the Freighters and Belly Cargo Conference in Abu Dhabi, Bernhard Kindelbacher, senior vice president for strategy, subsidiaries and business development at Lufthansa, said there would be an announcement of a new joint venture before the end of the year.
Today’s news of Lufthansa Cargo and United Cargo expanding their current passenger partnership to cargo shipments between the U.S. and Europe could very well be what Kindelbacher was referring to. This joint venture comes one year after Lufthansa formed a JV with ANA Cargo on flights between Europe and Japan.
The planned cooperation could include, among other things, an alignment of information technology services and warehouse facilities. In a joint statement, the airlines said “the planned cooperation of United Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo will create a more efficient and comprehensive trans-Atlantic cargo network and increase the choices and benefits available to cargo customers.”
Lufthansa Cargo and ANA Cargo expanded their JV in August to cover some European routes, including Germany, France, the U.K. and Austria to Japan. Earlier this month, the two carriers expanded again by adding Fukuoka Airport in southern Japan as a destination. ANA flights between Tokyo Haneda and Fukuoka can be booked on airfreight systems of either airline. They also plan to add Sapporo to the network.
The agreement between United and Lufthansa has not been finalized yet, since it requires approvals from both U.S. and European regulators.