Thursday, May 19, 2016

Air Freight Alliance Reminiscent of Container Shipping Agreements

Plane Sharing Deal Agreed with Network Cooperation
Shipping News Feature
ASIA – EUROPE – Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa Cargo have entered into a joint business agreement which will see the two airlines cooperating on air freight routes between Hong Kong and Europe. Lufthansa has been party to a few similar collaborations with other cargo carriers the world over, somewhat reminiscent of the huge vessel sharing and alliances currently the fashion in the container shipping world. Cathay Pacific had much to celebrate recently when a European Commission fine of €57 million was annulled by the Court, a case brought about when Lufthansa successfully begged immunity from the authorities after revealing admissions of surcharge irregularities by various air cargo carriers.

The cooperation on routes between Hong Kong and Europe will see both airlines work closely together on network planning, sales, IT, and ground-handling. The cooperation will also focus on service enhancements. For example, customers will be able to access the entire joint network via the booking systems of both partners. Joint handling, initially at the Hong Kong and Frankfurt hubs, will also make things easier for customers since there will be just one point for export drop off and import delivery. Simon Large Director Cargo at Cathay Pacific, said:

“Our joint network will cover more than 140 direct flights per week between Hong Kong and 13 European destinations. Cathay Pacific’s large number of direct connections to multiple European destinations complements Lufthansa’s strength in Frankfurt, the most important European air freight hub, and in Europe through its dense feeder-network.”

Both partners plan to transport the first shipments under the framework of the cooperation from early next year – initially from Hong Kong to Europe. The ability to also book eastbound shipments from Europe to Hong Kong will then follow in the course of the year. Peter Gerber CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo, commented:

“As a result of our joining forces, customers will gain access to unique flexibility with more flights to choose from and a combination of feeder and direct flights. In this way their cargo can reach its destination hours earlier. We will also have more options for shipments which have to be transported by freighter due to their size or properties.”

The two partners insist that these joint activities will be carried out in full compliance with all applicable laws, including the competition rules of the European Union and Hong Kong.