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Leisure Cargo allows holiday airlines to earn money from cargo without having to do anything themselves. It has established itself successfully in Europe – but could the idea work in Asia?

If asked to name a European carrier that serves 200 destinations worldwide with a fleet of 300 aircraft, it is a fair bet you probably would not name Leisure Cargo. Yet that is the size and scope of the company that manages the cargo capacity of 16 holiday airlines on the continent.

It has made a success of this approach where others have not – notably Lufthansa subsidiary cargo counts, which was folded into the parent airline late last year. Yet to date its efforts to extend the model into Asia have met with only fleeting success.

Leisure Cargo’s origins go back to 1990 when German holiday airline LTU decided that it might as well carry cargo on its flights to various long haul tourist destinations. It appointed Ralf- Rainer Ausländer as its cargo manager. In 1999, it had the idea of offering its expertise in this area to other carriers, and Leisure Cargo came into being on 1 January 2000.

Originally it was a joint venture with Swiss Cargo, the cargo arm of Swissair, but when that carrier foundered in 2002, LTU repurchased its shares. In August2007, LTU was itself taken over by German carrier Air Berlin, and in January2008 Leisure Cargo became a whollyowned subsidiary of that airline’s holdingcompany.