Lufthansa has opened talks with unions and crews on accelerating the withdrawal of the MD-11F fleet.
Originally planned for 2025, the cargo market so far this year has left the business unit making profit warnings, forcing shipping rate cuts that are in effect, unsustainable.
As a result the fleet needs to be reduced and the least efficient elements are the MD-11F’s, the company operates 19 aircraft, 12 of which are MD-11F’s, the rest 777F’s.
Lufthansa cargo operated 19 at full strength and was the recipient of the last purpose built MD-11F’s in 2002.
With parts more expensive, three engines, and a shorter range requiring more technical stops, they’re considerably more costly in time and money than the 777F.
What isn’t clear is how the company can cut back its operations to loose so many so quickly. If indeed things are so bad that it can sustain the loss of 12 aircraft, with only 2 more 777F due inside the year, it’s a radical way of fixing problems.
It’s also worrying for the non-express carriers everywhere.