Lufthansa Cargo reacts quickly to ruling
Lufthansa Cargo has been forced into changes to its freighter scheduling for the period from 30 October, recovering from the shock of "the completely unexpected decision" of a German regional court in Hesse to ban night flights at Frankfurt-Main airport (ACW, 17 October, p1) from that date.
The freight carrier's new timetable will see the cancellation of two MD-11F flights to China, while others will take off from Frankfurt during the day and fly north to Cologne Bonn, where the aircraft will wait for three or four hours on the tarmac before taking off during the night for their final destinations in China.
Indeed, the effect is expected to be so great that Lufthansa Cargo is considering stationing at least one of its MD-11 freighters at Cologne Bonn to fly the North Atlantic sector, possibly from January.
"We can more or less provide our customers with their required lift", he believes, although Garnadt added that the timetable is, in part, "economically and ecologically absurd", in that it requires more aviation fuel to be burnt, more diesel to be expended on road feeder services to Cologne, more noise during the day and more cost.
Cologne Bonn is described as a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution, while moving MD-11Fs to Frankfurt-Hahn does not seem to be under consideration at all. Garnadt points out the importance of the carrier's Frankfurt-Main base in offering the vital connectivity between Lufthansa Cargo's bellyhold capacity and its MD-11 freighter fleet.
Of course, any permanent ban to night flights at Frankfurt-Main will necessitate longer term solutions - but Garnadt and Lufthansa Cargo remain hopeful that the final decision of Germany's highest administrative court in Leipzig, expected in the first quarter of next year, will go in their favour.