Medium-haul aircraft are used as freight-only aircraft on continental routes in Europe. Aircraft receive cargo doors to enable containers to be transported on the main deck as well. Freighter aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa CityLine.
Lufthansa Cargo is investing in the expansion of its cargo capacities. From the beginning of 2022, the company will offer its customers additional capacity in Europe by permanently converting Airbus 321 passenger aircraft into freighters. For this purpose, the twin-engine medium-haul aircraft will receive large cargo doors to enable the transport of containers on the main deck as well. Initially, the conversion of two Airbus aircraft is planned. These aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa CityLine on behalf of Lufthansa Cargo. They will be stationed in Frankfurt.
The growth for cross-border eCommerce shipments is forecast at around 20% per year for the next five years. Consumers expect ever shorter delivery times for their ordered goods. This is also increasing the demand for air freight connections within Europe.
"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," said Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. "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, eCommerce providers will be customers for this offering," von Boxberg added.
"With more than 60 years of experience in European air transport, Lufthansa City-Line stands for reliable and efficient operations as an important partner in the Lufthansa Group. Flexibility in operations and speed in identifying and implementing new opportunities are the foundation of our business. We want to use these qualities to serve Lufthansa Cargo and its customers," says Steffen Harbarth, Managing Director of Lufthansa CityLine.
The Airbus A321s (A321P2F) converted to freighters offer a payload of 28 tons with a range of 3,500 kilometers. The conversion allows the use of standardized cargo pallets on the main deck as well. The twin-engine Airbus A321 is one of the most versatile aircraft in its class and enables very efficient continental operations.