Lufthansa Cargo targets e-commerce with A321 conversions

By Damian Brett

Lufthansa Cargo is targeting the e-commerce market with the conversion of two Airbus freighters to be used on intra-European services

The Frankfurt-headquartered airline today announced that two of its Airbus A321 aircraft would be converted into freighters to be operated by Lufthansa CityLine.

They are set to join Lufthansa’s fleet “from the beginning of 2022”.

The company pointed out that cross-border e-commerce shipments are forecast to grow by around 20% per year for the next five years.

“Consumers expect ever shorter delivery times for their ordered goods,” the cargo business said. “This is also increasing the demand for air freight connections within Europe.”

The converted A321s will offer a payload of 28 tons with a range of 3,500 kms. They will have be fitted with large cargo doors and be able to carry standardized cargo pallets on the maindeck.

Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Dorothea von Boxberg said: “Lufthansa Cargo wants to offer customers in the eCommerce segment fast intra-European connections. With the converted A321s, we are meeting our customers’ growing demand for same-day solutions and further strengthening our dense network of global connections as well as our product offering.

“The selected aircraft type can transport 28t per flight, significantly larger cargo volumes than in the short-haul bellies of passenger aircraft. In addition to forwarders, integrators and postal operators, e-commerce providers will be customers for this offering.”

The move is significant for the cargo airline as its freighter focus has been on long-haul routes with B777 and MD-11 aircraft. The decision also highlights the growing demand for e-commerce and comes as airlines find themselves with excess aircraft as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak’s impact on passenger travel.

According to the Lufthansa Cargo website, the carrier currently operates nine B777Fs and two MD-11Fs. The company also sells the capacity on four B777 freighters operated by its AeroLogic joint venture with DHL.

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