With a name like AeroLogic, the new cargo airline launched by DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo must make sense. Or does it?
The 50-50 joint venture will begin operations next year with Boeing 777-200LRFs. AeroLogic has already signed a lease for eight of the long-distance flyers; four are scheduled for delivery in 2009, and four more the following year. Plans call for an additional three aircraft by 2012.
At a press conference in January, AeroLogic's top management—hand-picked from both parent companies—put out a call for around 200 pilots to fly to major cities in Asia and "exciting destinations" in North America. The airline's headquarters will be in Leipzig, Germany.
Why start an airline now, when fuel costs are high and an economic slowdown threatens? AeroLogic appears to have been designed largely to supplement both carriers' existing lift at a relatively low cost. On weekdays, aircraft will fly to Asia for DHL Express, and on weekends they will carry mostly Lufthansa's shipments. Other companies will be able to book the excess space, but the fact that total employment is expected to reach only 250 suggests that the partners aren't planning a largescale expansion. Still, 11 freighter aircraft is a good-sized fleet, and shippers will welcome the additional capacity and flight frequency.