Lufthansa Cargo said it needs six more freighters with the capacity of an MD-11 by 2015 to keep pace with rising global cargo demand.
The airline expects its freight traffic to grow 5 percent annually from 2012 to 2015, driven mainly by shipments to and from Asia, said Andreas Otto, Lufthansa Cargo's management board member.
Otto said Lufthansa Cargo hasn't decided whether to buy new freighters, to convert parent Lufthansa's passenger planes into freighters or to lease aircraft.
By The Numbers: European Airlines' Freight Traffic.
"We are talking about six MD-11 equivalents. That does not mean we are buying six more MD-11s. That is something we currently have to talk about," Otto said in a presentation.
"There are no plans yet for [a] specific aircraft type," a Lufthansa Cargo spokesman said.
Lufthansa Cargo currently operates 18 MD-11 freighters with a capacity of 90 tons each, making it Europe's largest scheduled all-cargo carrier. Another MD-11 crashed in July at Riyadh airport, Saudi Arabia.
The carrier expects to add the equivalent of one MD-11 freighter per year through 2015 to match growth, especially in sectors such as pharmaceuticals.
Lufthansa Cargo is setting up a transport hub for pharmaceuticals in Hyderabad, India, and will open a refrigerated warehouse at its Frankfurt base in 2011.
The carrier boosted October traffic by 18.6 percent from a year ago to 171,000 metric tons, taking volume for the first 10 months of the year to 1.475 million tons, up 19.3 percent on the same period in 2009.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.