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Published on : Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Year after year during the Advent season, the bellies of Austrian Airlines aircraft are full to the brim. The reason for the extra weight of the red-white-red fleet is the thousands of tons of cargo which Austrian Airlines transports in its role as a cooperation partner of Lufthansa Cargo AG, especially in the pre-Christmas period. The total volume amounted to about 2,000 tons of presents, Christmas mail and other freight in the first two weeks of December alone.
This year an Austrian Airlines Boeing 767 long-haul aircraft had special cargo on board. This wide-body jet brought a load of Christmas trees to the Maldives. 246 Christmas trees – that equates to 4.5 tons – were sent in the Boeing 767 to Malé, the capital of the Maldives. All types of trees were transported, ranging from small, 80 cm tall trees to huge conifers with a height of up to 5.75 meters. So-called belly cargo makes this possible. Within the context of a partnership with Lufthansa Cargo AG, Austrian Airlines makes effective use of free capacities in the lower deck of the passenger aircraft to take various freight shipments on board for the flight. In the case of Christmas trees, transporting the sensitive freight requires sophisticated cooling solutions so that the Nordmann firs remain fresh from the time they are harvested until actual delivery. However, Christmas mail and presents also find their way into the bellies of the red-white-red fleet in addition to the conifers.
Thanks to presents, Christmas mail and orders for consumer goods, cargo volume in December generally increases as expected in comparison to the month of November. Total cargo tonnage in December 2015 was about 4% higher than in the month before. Mail volumes in December usually rise by approximately 20% compared to November. A large portion of the mail items are designed for the USA.
“Generally speaking, we can load the bellies of all available Austrian Airlines aircraft with freight shipments. The planes range from the Dash 8-Q400 to the Boeing 777“, says Hasso Schmidt of Lufthansa Cargo in Vienna. Austrian Airlines will likely reach a total annual cargo volume of 60,000 tons of transported freight and mail, or about 5% of the total amount handled by Lufthansa Cargo. Each day Austrian Airlines operates more than 300 flights to 130 destinations around the world. The journey takes most of the Austrian Airlines freight shipments from Vienna to Thailand, China and the USA. Sophisticated logistics ensures that the freight punctually lands under the Christmas trees across the globe in time for Christmas.
Since the year 2010, the cargo operations of Austrian Airlines aircraft have been integrated into the transport activities of Lufthansa Cargo. The Boeing 777 passenger jet of Austrian Airlines can carry an average of 15 tons of freight on one intercontinental flight, and the Boeing 767 aircraft an average of about ten tons. An Airbus A320 also offers room for up to ten standard containers.
Source:- Austrian Airlines