Lufthansa Cargo expands into West Africa

Agreement with Astral Aviation follows in Etihad's footsteps.
An interline deal with Astral Aviation will boost Lufthansa's footprint in West Africa.
An interline deal with Astral Aviation will boost Lufthansa's footprint in West Africa.

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Lufthansa Cargo has signed an interline deal with Kenyan freight carrier Astral Aviation, which will allow the German operator access to seven new African destinations via Nairobi.

The contract comes shortly after Etihad Crystal Cargo finalised a similar arrangement with Astral, which provides services to Bujumbura (Burundi), Dar Es Salaam, Mwanza, Zanzibar (all Tanzania), Juba (Sudan) and Kigali and Entebbe (both Uganda).

Lufthansa MD-11 freighters will fly to Nairobi, where Astral will then forward freight onto the other destinations. Astral, which has been operating since 2001, has a fleet of DC-9, Fokker 27 freighters, An-12 and Cessna Caravan aircraft.

Jade Cargo International, the Lufthansa Cargo and Shenzhen Airlines joint venture, is also concentrating on Africa. Twice-weekly flights from Shanghai using a B747-400ERF are routed through Shenzhen to Chennai and then via Sharjah to Lagos, the Nigerian capital.

The move comes as several Gulf airlines have recently followed a trend of committing additional resources to the African continent. 

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