United Airlines and Lufthansa are planning to extend their current cooperation in airline passenger services to include a cargo cooperation by United Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo on routes between the US and Europe.
The two carriers, which are both members of the 28-airline ‘Star Alliance’ network, said they were “discussing a wide variety of possible elements of the planned cooperation to create a seamless network for the shipping industry, including, among others, an alignment of information technology services and warehouse facilities”.
They said the planned cooperation of United Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo would “create a more efficient and comprehensive transatlantic cargo network and increase the choices and benefits available to cargo customers”.
In a joint statement yesterday, the two airlines said that the implementation of this cargo cooperation between United and Lufthansa was subject to the finalisation of the commercial arrangement and compliance with existing EU and US regulations and necessary government approvals.
Last September, Lufthansa Cargo launched a cargo joint venture with fellow Star Alliance member ANA on services between Europe and Japan.
Asked by Lloyd’s Loading List.com today whether Lufthansa Cargo anticipated further cargo cooperation initiatives between Lufthansa and other Star Alliance airlines, a spokesman responded: “More partnerships are absolutely possible, but we cannot disclose more details on potential partners, timeframes, etc. at the moment.”
The planned cooperation between United Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo is the first cargo cooperation between the two carriers, and there are no plans to expand the cooperation beyond transatlantic services – for example to Latin America.
“The scope of the cooperation will be shipments between the US and Europe and vice versa,” a spokesman confirmed.
Asked why Lufthansa Cargo had chosen to partner with United, Lufthansa said:
“United is already working closely for many years with the Lufthansa passenger airline, which makes it an ideal partner also for Lufthansa Cargo. Furthermore, the strength and position – for example in terms of quality – of United fits very well to Lufthansa Cargo.”
In terms of why the two airlines were unveiling the partnership now, he said: “We have seen a very good development and progress of the talks with United and therefore both parties felt comfortable sharing the news.”
But further information about the alignment of information technology services and warehouse facilities would be shared at a later date, he said.
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