Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) has accepted its first converted Airbus A321 P2F (passenger to freighter conversion) aircraft, ahead of commencing operations.
The aircraft, registration D-AEUC, arrived in Munich on January 30, 2022 after undergoing a successful test flight in Singapore.
Commercial services are due to commence in March, a Lufthansa Cargo spokeswoman told AeroTime on February 1, 2022.
It is the first of two A321 P2F aircraft that Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) is leasing from BBAM. The second is due to arrive in the second half of 2022. The conversions are being carried out by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW).
Lufthansa Cargo announced plans to lease the two short-haul aircraft in July 2021 for freight operations within Europe, citing increased freight demand driven by eCommerce. At the time it indicated it may look at taking more such short-haul P2F aircraft, but no decision has been taken so far.
The aircraft will be operated by regional carrier Lufthansa CityLine, not the main Lufthansa Cargo division.
The cargo market is currently enjoying a boom period because the lack of passenger aircraft flying during the pandemic has reduced capacity, while demand for goods to be moved by air, including vaccines and medical equipment, remains high.
IATA expects cargo to have another strong year in 2022, after demand for air freight rose almost 7% in 2021 when compared with 2019 levels.
The rush for cargo has also seen manufacturers Airbus and Boeing vying for freighter orders, with Boeing unveiling a freight version of its 777X on January 31, 2022.