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Lufthansa Cargo is one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers and has been one of the prominent international air cargo carriers in the Indian market for decades. Realising the potential that India’s air cargo sector holds, the carrier is working towards strongly reinforcing its commitment to India. In the last few years, especially during and after COVID-19, the carrier has enhanced its network in India by increasing connectivity and frequency to various international destinations.
While speaking to us at their recent event in Delhi, Dr. André Schulz, Head of Region Middle East, Africa, South Asia & CIS at Lufthansa Cargo said that in terms of capacity that they put in the market, they’ve reached around 85-90 percent of pre-pandemic times. “The demand is growing nicely and yields have gone up, especially for the premium category,” he said.
Also highlighting his recent visit to the Mumbai and Hyderabad airports, he said that market visits are extremely important as one gets to witness the actual dynamics, and added, “India is THE growth market right now. China+1 will bring great benefits to India. We see a lot of investments and production happening in India right now, that will naturally lead to more cargo exports and freight activity.”
Dr. Schulz was also appreciative of the innovative operations at both airports and believe that India’s air cargo sector holds a huge potential. “It is amazing to see the investments happening in this part of the world right now. Also, the dynamics and momentum are something we are missing in Germany.”
In order to cater to the growing and expectant demand, Lufthansa Cargo is investing in expanding its capacity and network in India, as the country has been a key market in both pre-COVID and post-COVID times. They are running freighters to and from key Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Adding to the existing network, Lufthansa Cargo will now run freighters thrice a week between Bengaluru and Munich with the new Airbus A350F starting November 2023. Further, another trade lane will be added starting January 2024 between Hyderabad and Frankfurt on the Dreamliner 797.
Unarguably, the company recognizes India’s robust economic growth, rising e-commerce activities, and the need for reliable transportation solutions. By offering enhanced freight capacity, Lufthansa Cargo aims to facilitate the seamless movement of goods and support the country’s burgeoning import and export industry.
Showing strong belief, commitment, and trust in the Indian market, Dr. Schulz said, “Our freighter capacity and belly capacity together to Bengaluru and Hyderabad will give us some leverage.”
When it comes to India, Lufthansa Cargo also has a positive outlook for growth in key markets like IT and Pharma and by deploying the Boeing 777 freighters here, they intend to leverage the upcoming spurt.
Talking about the scope of P2Fs and Freighters in general, Dr. Schulz revealed that during COVID-19, 98% of their fleet was grounded due to the absence of passenger movement, and the remaining 2% was flying because the cargo was moving nonetheless. “As the Lufthansa Group, we understood what is the value of having our own cargo fleet as Lufthansa Cargo was the only business unit that made money. In that sense, the value of cargo has been understood from a group perspective and there will be more investments in cargo aircraft.”
Last year around the same time, to commemorate the relations between Germany and India, Lufthansa Cargo introduced its Boeing 777 freighter ‘Namaste India‘ to operate from the Indian air cargo market.
Lufthansa Cargo also recognizes the transformative potential of digital technologies in streamlining operations and is actively embracing digitalization initiatives, leveraging advanced tracking systems, IoT devices, and data analytics tools. On the other hand, they are also working towards minimizing their ecological footprint. Earlier this year, Lufthansa Cargo announced that they will begin equipping all Boeing 777Fs with AeroSHARK – an innovative surface technology from Lufthansa Technik and BASF that improves fuel efficiency and helps achieve sustainability goals. Registered as D-ALFA, Lufthansa Cargo’s first modified Boeing 777 equipped with AeroSHARK, took off for the first time at 05:07 (CET) on February 3, 2023. Under flight number LH8410, the B777F started from Frankfurt to Bengaluru, and then to Chengdu in China.
Lufthansa Cargo’s reinforced commitment to the Indian market showcases its dedication to supporting the country’s logistics industry and meeting the evolving needs of businesses. By expanding capacity, forging strategic partnerships, embracing digitalization, and offering specialized solutions, Lufthansa Cargo is well-positioned to provide reliable and efficient air freight services in India.