Lufthansa Buying 777 Freighters

Lufthansa Buying 777 Freighters

Lufthansa Cargo, in the midst of a strong revival in freight business, will add five 777 freighters to its fleet, the German carrier said.

The Boeing twin-engine widebody aircraft will enter Lufthansa’s fleet in 2013, the airline said, joining a Lufthansa Cargo operation that now numbers 18 MD-11 freighters.

Lufthansa announced the order along with the purchase of 30 A320-family passenger aircraft from Airbus and said the two deals are worth nearly $4 billion combined.

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The 777 has larger capacity and better range than the three-engine MD-11, Lufthansa noted, and the newer aircraft is far more fuel efficient than the planes the airline has been flying. The plane is also quieter, a boost for Lufthansa following battles with authorities in Frankfurt over noise restrictions at the carrier’s main cargo hub.

Lufthansa saw a big rebound in freight business in 2010, with traffic growing 19.9 percent over the depressed 2009 figures, well ahead of the 7.3 percent gain in capacity.

The recovery is extending into 2011. Cargo traffic at the carrier was up 22.5 percent in the first two months of the year although capacity has jumped more than 25 percent from the same period a year ago.