By Charlotte Seet
Lufthansa Cargo Welcomes New Freighters, to Retire Last MD-11F
In service since 1990, the then-modernized long-range, wide-body Boeing MD-11 was mainly known for its iconic tri-engines, winglets and advanced electronic flight instrument system. Despite its lack of commercial success, however, the MD-11 has over time been built mainly for freighter operations, becoming the MD-11F.
As the years went by, the sights of the MD-11F in the blue skies have dwindled down as fewer cargo airlines used it, with preferences to use the more favorable Boeing 777F instead. Currently, only FedEx, UPS, Lufthansa Cargo and Western Global Airlines operate the MD-11F in their operations. Soon, however, the cargo division of Lufthansa will be exiting the list as the days of the MD-11F continues to be shortly numbered.
Before Boeing ceased production of the MD-11 in 2000, there were just about 200 of the aircraft built, with the last aircraft having been delivered to Lufthansa Cargo in 2001. Unfortunately, the cargo airline will soon say farewell to its last tri-jet, which also happens to be the last of the aircraft type registered in Europe as D-ALCC. To express its gratitude for more than 23 years of loyal service, Lufthansa cargo has the last tri-jet in a special farewell livery with “Farewell” and “Thank You, MD-11” stamped across its fuselage.
The last flights of D-ALCC will be rotations to Cairo, Tel Aviv, Chicago, and New York, before making its last landing at Frankfurt Airport. The final landing is scheduled for noon on October 15, 2021.
The exit of the MD-11F paves the way for the welcoming of two Boeing 777F – registered as D-ALFJ and D-ALFK respectively – into the fleet of Lufthansa Cargo. Out of the two, D-ALFJ is an acquisition from the second-hand market and will remain as an all-white aircraft, with only an inscription on the fuselage, in an effort for Lufthansa Cargo to make the freighter’s capacity available to customers as soon as possible due to rising demand faced by the cargo industry.
On the other hand, D-ALFK is a brand-new aircraft from the Boeing facilities in Everett, Washington State and made its first touch-down in Frankfurt Airport on September 29, 2021. With a couple of new additions, the Frankfurt-based cargo airline now operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 777F aircraft, including another four aircraft operated by its sister company AeroLogic, as part of their strategic partnership.
“We are very pleased that we can now offer our customers the capacity of a total of 15 highly efficient wide-body freighters,” said Dorothea von Boxberg, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Cargo, in a press release.
She also adds that Lufthansa Cargo, alongside the cargo capacities of parent airline Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings Discover allows for flexibility in managing the freighters to form a dense, yet vastly global network. The new deliveries mark the completion for Lufthansa Cargo’s plans for fleet expansion, but the airline is still planning to add an additional two Airbus A321P2Fs – registered as D-AEUA and D-AEUC – from yet another sister company, Lufthansa Cityline.
With over 6.5 billion revenue tonne-kilometers and a turnover of 2,8 billion euros last year, Lufthansa Cargo was already one of the world’s leading air cargo companies. And given the timely fleet expansion to further strengthen air cargo efficiency, it definitely further highlights the cargo airline’s spot amongst the top.