This month, German flag carrier Lufthansa embarked on a seven-year program that will see it renew its freight facilities at its Frankfurt home. The carrier anticipates that the modular project will be completed in 2028.
While 2020 was beyond terrible for passenger airlines, the same couldn’t be said about cargo carriers. The loss of cargo space in passenger aircraft bellies meant such airlines were busier than ever, with several exclusively passenger airlines turning their hand to cargo operations. Until widespread travel resumes, this is likely to remain the case.
Overhauling its biggest cargo hub
Today Lufthansa Cargo revealed that it had embarked on a seven-year overhaul of its largest freight hub located at Frankfurt Airport. The works already began earlier this month following approval from the airline’s supervisory board. Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub is no small facility, and taking it all offline at once is no option. As a result, the works aren’t set to be completed until 2028 as a modular approach to the renewal is being taken.
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Lufthansa’s Frankfurt Cargo hub handles around 80% of the airline’s total freight volume globally. Everything from animals to vaccines and fruit & veg passes through the facility, meaning. Indeed, while Frankfurt’s passenger volumes plummeted during 2020, its freight volumes ended 2020 in a better position than the previous year.
Digitalization plays a crucial part in the refurbishment part of Lufthansa’s cargo refurbishment. The first step in the process has seen the airline installing a high-rack storage system in its primary Cargo Center. However, as the works progress, the airline will also add new buildings while modernizing existing buildings and warehouses. As the works are being completed in a modular fashion, customers will feel no impact from the process.
Commenting on the renewal, the CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, Peter Gerber, commented,
“With this renewal of our logistics centre, we are investing in our airfreight base in Frankfurt and thus creating the structural requirements for even faster and more efficient airfreight. In doing so, we are also making the jobs of our employees at our most important logistics location in Germany safe for the future.”
Lufthansa Cargo has gone from strength to strength
While 2020 was dismal for Lufthansa’s passenger operations, it remained relatively strong in the cargo department. In an interview with Eurocontrol, Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr commented that Lufthansa had an excellent year for cargo that ended in a record-breaking fashion. He pointed out that the airline had deferred the retirement of some of its MD-11 fleet of tri-jets so that their capacity is not lost.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s seven-year cargo modernization plan? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!