Lufthansa confident in face of the downturn

While accepting the seriousness of the global economic outlook, Lufthansa Cargo nevertheless senses that its moment may be coming.

Pointing out that it was second in the IATA cargo airline rankings in 2007 – or third, if the combined operations of Air France and KLM are counted as one – Dr Andreas Otto, executive board member product and sales for Lufthansa Cargo nevertheless confidently predicts that it will regainthe number one spot by 2010.

He points out that the Asian carriers such as Korean Air, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific that have been rivalling Lufthansa for the top slot in recent years have been reducing their freight fleets and not taking up their planned conversion slots. By contrast, LufthansaCargo is going ahead with its Aerologic joint venture with DHL, and seems to beon the verge of effectively absorbing JadeCargo International (see story below).

And then there are the various second rank European carriers that the Lufthansa Group is set on acquiring – bmi of the UK, SN Brussels Airlines of Belgium, Austrian Air, maybe even Alitalia. All of these could be integrated into the Lufthansa Cargo operation. The carrier even has a new slogan to reflect this – Networking the World.

Reality bites
Such brash confidence may seem a little strange at a time when, as Otto admits, “we don’t know what is going to happen next” with the global economy. At the cargo trends press conference Lufthansa Cargo holds each year in Frankfurt, he does a straw poll of the attending journalists. “Who thinks that share prices will rise in the next twelve months? Who thinks that their incomes will rise in the next year?” No one.