“We know we have to order more [Boeing] 777Fs and there is no other option,” Garnadt said. LHC finalized an order for five 777 freighters valued at $1.35 billion last spring.
Garnadt said he expects no growth in 2012. “Currently we are 10% down compared to last year. The demand is much weaker,” he said.
LHC’s 2012 profitability outlook was strong until last fall when Frankfurt Airport (FRA) announced its decision to ban night flights from Oct. 30, 2011. The ban, which affected 10 LHC nighttime slots in its winter schedule, cost the carrier €20 million ($26.4 million) in 2011.
Garnadt said if the court does not lift the ban, the carrier stands to lose €40 million in 2012. He said LHC had planned to lease two more freighters for the coming summer schedule but has “axed” those plans. “If this scenario continues to go in the wrong direction, then we [will] start to replace some MD-11Fs with the first 777s instead expanding our fleet,” he said.
Garnadt said that if the court reverses the ban, the carrier will “switch some important night flights [back] to FRA from July.” He said that 50% of LHC’s business is high-value express cargo.
(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)