Lufthansa Cargo reports some easing of Frankfurt bottlenecks

By Damian Brett

Image: Lufthansa Cargo Center (LCC) at Frankfurt Airport

Lufthansa Cargo has reported an easing in the bottlenecks experienced at its Frankfurt hub over recent weeks but will continue to divert some freighters to Munich for the rest of July.

The airport, which is the busiest cargo hub in Europe, had asked cargo airlines to reduce flying in order to tackle a staff shortage.

Lufthansa Cargo took the decision to re-route some of its freighters to Munich and also placed an embargo on some cargo types.

However, the situation has eased slightly over the last couple of weeks.

“Currently, our freighters are operating quite well compared to the situation we had two weeks ago with cancellations and delays,” a Lufthansa Cargo spokesperson said.

“Nevertheless, embargos and the ongoing ground handling difficulties and sick rates among staff can lead to short-term changes and restrictions.

“We decided also that additional freighters will be handled from Munich for operational reasons until the end of July.

“These are four cargo connections each on the weekends (Friday to Sunday), which will be operated by [Lufthansa/DHL joint venture] AeroLogic.

“In the belly area we have selectively closed flights for cargo (on continental flights). But especially in the belly intercontinental area there are no serious effects.”

The staff shortages have been created by rising numbers of covid infections, increased flying due to the start of the holiday season and higher cargo volumes following the easing of Covid restrictions in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

While there is increased belly space due to the summer flying, the capacity situation is still tight, according to forwarder Senator International.

Meanwhile, this week airport operator Fraport has started to limit the number of takeoffs and landings at Frankfurt to 88 per hour.

The move was welcomed by Lufthansa Airline chief executive Jens Ritter: “In recent weeks, we have already cancelled flights in several waves to relieve the overall system.

“Since the already increased capacities of the ground handling services in Frankfurt are still not sufficient due to a high sickness absence rate, even for the flight schedule that has already been reduced several times, the decision taken by Fraport today is right.

“Other airlines flying to and from Frankfurt will now also contribute to an even reduction and stabilisation with flight cancellations.”

Frankfurt is not the only airport to be experiencing flight cancellations this summer. 

Both Schiphol and Heathrow also face disruption due to staff shortages.

Frankfurt the latest to face flight cuts as staff shortage hits

Heathrow and Schiphol face up to a difficult summer

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