In news over the weekend, Lufthansa’s head of cargo, Karl Urich Garnadt suggested that Lufthansa may cease air freight operations if a court in Leipzig rules in favor of a ban on night freighter flight operations in Frankfurt. I had written about the legal actions being taken recently. It looks like Lufthansa is ready to stop their freighter flights since it would make no economic sense to maintain the fleet while at the same time it could not operate. Obviously this would also entail substantial job losses should Lufthansa find it necessary to do this in light of the court’s ruling. I always find the unintended consequences to be more interesting than the actual issue at hand. Here we have a legal complaint filed by residents who leave near Frankfurt’s airport and a court seemingly ready to side with them. If the court rules in favor of the people, the people themselves will be ones with the most to lose. Additional details can be found in the Reuters article below:

(Reuters) – The air freight arm of Germany’s Lufthansa may give up on its freighter fleet should a recently imposed ban on night flights at Frankfurt airport be confirmed by a court in Leipzig on April 4, the unit’s chief executive told a German magazine.

The current solution of scheduling take-offs and landings only before 2200 CET and after 0500 CET was “just a stopgap. It costs money and does not pay,” Karl Ulrich Garnadt told Focus, according to an excerpt of an article to be published on Monday.

If necessary Lufthansa Cargo may have to part ways with its freighter fleet in the long-term, consisting of 18 McDonell Douglas MD 11 planes, Focus quoted Garnadt as saying.

The magazine said around half of Lufthansa Cargo’s freight is transported via passenger planes.

Previously, Garnadt said the night flight ban at Frankfurt, imposed in October, would hurt earnings by around 40 million euros ($53 million) a year and sales by over 100 million euros if it were made permanent.

Lufthansa Cargo made an operating profit of 249 million euros in 2011, but said it would be unable to replicate this in 2012 due to overcapacity, a weak Chinese market and the night flight ban at its Frankfurt hub.

($1 = 0.7540 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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