Lufthansa Cargo is to launch an A321-operated medium-haul freighter network from 15 March, including. The network will be centred on Frankfurt and will also cover Manchester, Dublin, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Malta and Tunis, with Cairo joining the network on 29 March.
The A321F will make its first commercial flight from Frankfurt to Dublin on 15 March.
The German carrier said it was responding to the continuing growth in demand from the eCommerce industry.
The carrier’s chief commercial officer, Ashwin Bhat, said: “With the added medium-haul freighters, we are opening up a whole new strategic business segment. In the future, the A321F will offer attractive same-day and eCommerce solutions within Europe and to selected medium-haul destinations, and the new network represents a major step towards the fast-growing eCommerce segment.
“On one hand, available capacity in the global airfreight market continues to be scarce and, at the same time, end consumers expect short delivery times. With the medium-haul freighter, we can close this gap and continue to reliably and quickly provide our customers with the capacity they need with the same quality and expertise for which Lufthansa Cargo is known.”
The converted aircraft has been fitted with a reinforced floor, a roller system and a large cargo door and offers 24 pallet and container positions in the main and lower decks.
A second freighter is expected to enter service in late summer. Both will be operated under a wet lease agreement by Lufthansa CityLine, each under Lufthansa Cargo flight numbers. Lufthansa describes the twin-engine Airbus A321 as one of the most versatile aircraft in its class. Able to carry containers in the main deck, it offers fast loading and unloading and therefore enables very efficient flight operations.