Lufthansa Cargo would consider extra Delhi freighter flight
24 / 02 / 2016
Lufthansa Cargo would consider adding a new freighter frequency to Delhi, but is also wary of the market being flooded by capacity.
Speaking at a press event during Air Cargo India, Lufthansa Cargo board member responsible for product and sales Alexis von Hoensbroech explained that the airline currently offered freighter services to Delhi once per week, Hyderabad three times per week, Chennai twice per week, Bengaluru twice per week and Mumbai five times per week.
The Frankfurt-based carrier would consider increasing frequencies to Delhi but it is withdrawing two MD-11 freighters from service and also has concerns about overcapacity between Europe and India.
“Our flexibility to deploy additional freighters is fairly limited [given the lay-up of MD-11s]. We are constantly looking at options and one destination that could need another frequency is Delhi because we only fly there once with a freighter.
“We also only fly once per week to Dhaka, although it is Bangladesh, but it combines with Delhi and there could be an option to deploy a second weekly frequency but we have not taken a decision on that, but it would a natural extension.”
He added: “We are generally quite happy with our network but we have to acknowledge that the competitive pressure in India is getting higher and higher because of the Gulf carriers that are flooding the market with capacity.
“Last year, the India market grew by 7% but we were a little bit less than flat and that’s clearly a sign of the increasing competition, so it’s not easy to simply add freighter after freighter.
“That said, if I look at the most recent figures there is growth again on our own services in India and the best argument for additional frequencies is growth and profitability.”
With regards the decision to lay up two freighters, Von Hoensbroech said he hoped it would be a temporary measure made for competitive reasons.
One of the freighters was used to cover out-of-action freighters and for charters, while the other was used on scheduled services and its withdrawal resulted in the closure of routes to Chongqing, Quito and Bogota.
Looking at the Indian market, Lufthansa said export tonnage increased by 5.9% last year, while imports were up by 6.7%.
Volumes to and from Europe continue to dominate, but North America is catching.
Overall, Lufthansa is the fourth largest player on the Europe-India market, although it was the second largest in recent years, with Emirates, Qatar and Etihad leading the pack.