Lufthansa to ground four freighters

LUFTHANSA will ground at least four of its 18 MD-11Fs in the first half of next year in anticipation of lower demand.

“We would reduce capacity available to customers by 20, 25, maybe even 30 per cent,” Andreas Otto, board member for Lufthansa Cargo sales, said. “We’d ground the capacity, but not put it in the desert,” he added.

Otto expects a first half with “growth around zero, maybe slightly in the minus,” after the Christmas peak.

The second half of 2012 should be “smooth and successful,” with overall growth of about three per cent for the year, Otto said.

Lufthansa Cargo’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 51 per cent to €58 million (US$79 million) in the third quarter.

Lufthansa has given Shenzhen Airlines until the end of the year to reach an agreement on plans to inject more funds into their Jade Cargo joint venture. The unit needs investment to improve profit margins.

International Consolidated Airlines Group has begun due diligence of Lufthansa’s BMI unit following a preliminary agreement on purchasing the business.

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