Lufthansa on what to expect when flying a 777 freighter

Lufthansa talks about its cargo fleet and why the Boeing 777F, with payload of 103 tonnes, is the ideal jet for its cargo operations.

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Lufthansa announced in June that it was set to take in another factory fresh 777 freighter to add to its fleet by the end of this year. This would bring the German airline’s cargo fleet to a total of 15 full freighters when the aircraft commences service. Payload Asia got a chance to chat with Lufthansa about its cargo fleet and why the twin-engine Boeing 777F, with payload of 103 tonnes, is the ideal jet for its cargo operations.

From a pilot’s perspective, how many hours of simulated or flight training to be able to fly a 777F?

The training for the various aircraft types is regulated by law and cannot be quantified in general terms. Lufthansa’s own requirements are even higher than the official standards.

From an operations perspective, is there any difference between flying 777F and other full freighters in your fleet in terms of maintenance costs, manpower, regulatory requirements, etc? 

Our B777F aircraft are ideal for Lufthansa Cargo’s operations. Being the most efficient freighter in its class was one of the reasons why Lufthansa Cargo decided to move to a single B777F freighter fleet.

With a payload of 102. 8 tonnes, what types of special or unusual cargo have you been able to transport on the 777F? What about a 777 ‘preighter’?

We had a variety of special shipments on board our B777F freighters in the last few years. This goes from Panda bears to huge aircraft engines or urgently needed pharma shipments, such as COVID-19 vaccines in the recent past.

From a sales/commercial perspective, is it harder to fill for cargo agents given that it has more space? What can you say about utilisation of your current 777F fleet?

Our B777Fs meet our customers’ requirements very well. With our flexible global network, we can steer our offer along our customers’ demand at any time.

Would you consider the 777F a bang for the buck? What are your thoughts on fully converting older triple sevens similar to what IAI is doing? Is this a path you are likely to tread? Why or why not? 

As mentioned above, our B777 freighters meet all our requirements and fit our operations very well. Although we observe all possibilities and developments constantly, there is currently no alternative to our Triple Seven freighters for us.

How do you think airlines’ fleets and networks will evolve as more people get vaccinated? Will ecommerce be a main driver of the need for the 777F?

Passenger flights are expected to return gradually during the course of the year. Nevertheless, freighter operations will remain important to catch up missing belly capacities and to ensure stable supply chains. The continuing growth of the ecommerce business is also expected. With our own subsidiary heyworld, which specializes in ecommerce transport, we are optimally prepared for all requirements to come in this branch.

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