Lufthansa Cargo sees opportunity in adversity

LUFTHANSA Cargo presented its 2008 annual report yesterday, revealing that it had been the company’s second-best year to date. Operating profits rose 20.9 per cent to €164 million from €136 million in 2007. Revenues rose 6.3 per cent to €2.9 billion.

Speaking to journalists in Frankfurt, chief executive officer Carsten Spohr (right) said that the company had managed to respond quickly to high fuel prices in the first half and to falling demand in the last half of 2008.

While extremely difficult trading conditions in 2009 would prove to “separate the boys from the men” he remained confident that the company would not only survive the global recession but also exploit any opportunities it produced.

“The current economic problems will professionalise the industry,” he said. “When recovered, we will see a partially consolidated industry with a few strong players.”

While keen to stress the company’s optimism for the future the subject primarily on the journalists’ minds was the ongoing debate over the nightflights extension at Frankfurt airport. As reported previously in Air Cargo News, the regional government had promised local residents a total ban on nightflights but then allowed carriers 17 a night. Lufthansa Cargo wants over 40, which if it does not receive will severely disrupt its operations and plans for expansion at Frankfurt. The disagreement is currently going to court and Spohr declared that the company would pursue a favourable decision all the way to the German supreme court.

“An airport that closes down for six hours a night is intolerable,” he said, adding that forcing a third of Frankfurt’s airfreight business elsewhere would jeopardise the city’s entire logistics industry. When asked if the proposed logistics centre would not be built should the restrictions on nightflights not be forthcoming Spohr said: “The centre will be built whatever the decision but if the flights can’t go ahead then the investment will be different.” He refused to provide any more details just yet.

More details on what was said and Spohr’s plans for the future will be covered in the next issue of Air Cargo News.


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