NO FORCED TRANSITION

We fear that the Russian economic blackmail tactics to force Lufthansa Cargo to switch its 35 freighter services a week (already down from 49 flights a week) from its current mid-Asian hub at the Kazakhstan capital Astana to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, have worked after all. German and Russian government officials last month hammered out a […]


We fear that the Russian economic blackmail tactics to force Lufthansa Cargo to switch its 35 freighter services a week (already down from 49 flights a week) from its current mid-Asian hub at the Kazakhstan capital Astana to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, have worked after all.

German and Russian government officials last month hammered out a deal under which Lufthansa Cargo’s freighters would begin landing at Krasnoyarsk at the latest five months after modernisation work at the airport there had been completed, German ministry officials were quoted as saying.

Over-flight rights for the freighters will be extended until the end of the summer flight timetable on August 30, and Lufthansa will also be granted new over-flight rights to South Korea, the officials added. Lufthansa stressed that the over-flight rights and the hub switch were not tied together.

Although at the carrier’s annual press conference last month, chairman Carsten Spohr said that the move was not a "forced transition", he acknowledged at the same time that it was "not legitimate" for the Russians to use traffic rights as a bargaining tool.

"The contract with Astana Airport will be renewed on a regular basis," was Spohr’s reply to a question whether the Kazakh hub would receive any compensation for the cancellation of an agreement, which was signed barely a year ago. The big loser in this politically embarrassing conflict is obviously Astana Airport.