LUFTHANSA CARGO’S joint venture with ANA brings together an impressive fleet of freighters and a formidable array of global bellyhold capacity, writes Roger Hailey, Air Cargo News editor.
The joint venture was not a surprise – it has been the subject of debate for many months – but the business rationale behind the agreement is compelling.
On one hand, it brings ANA – Japan’s largest airline and the world’s eighth largest by revenues – together with Germany’s air freighter giant on the key trade lane of Japan to Europe this coming winter. The joint venture becomes active from Europe to Japan in mid 2015.
Japan’s regulators have already given their seal of approval to the deal. The joint venture “has been positively assessed by external counsel for compliance with relevant European Union anti-trust regulations,” which may not be quite the same thing as a thumbs up from the European Commission in Brussels.
Apart from the substantial belly hold capacity managed by the two airlines – they are already passenger partners in the Star Alliance – their current combined freighter fleet numbers 25, with ten B767Fs for ANA and eleven MD-11Fs and four B777Fs for the Lufthansa cargo arm.
Together, based on 2013 statistics, they carried nearly three million tonnes of cargo. It will require a lot of management time to oversee this project, albeit with a promising cultural fit with regard to freight.
The finer details of the joint venture have yet to be unveiled, but there will be a “one roof”, single location policy at Narita, Nagoya, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt airports. How this is applied to the freighters, we will have to wait and see.
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