Lufthansa Cargo's A321 freighter finally took its first commercial flight on March 15th. The carrier had announced the start date for its use last month, and bookings for the plane were opened on March 1st, two weeks before the launch.

First flight

Lufthansa Cargo's highly anticipated A321 freighter took to the skies for the first time commercially on March 15th. Flight LH8350 left Frankfurt (FRA) for Dublin (DUB) at 16:21 CET before flying to Manchester (MAN).

The aircraft is operated by subsidiary Lufthansa CityLine with the intention to provide cargo capacity on intra-Europe routes, which would otherwise be carried in the belly of a conventional plane but not enough to fill an entire Boeing 777F.

Dorothea von Boxberg, Chairperson of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, commented on the importance of the A321F, saying,

"Lufthansa Cargo can now offer its customers same-day and e-commerce solutions within Europe and to selected medium-haul destinations. The new aircraft will serve a wide range of customers and routes, both scheduled and charter. We look forward to providing much-needed capacity in the European market and further strengthening our position as the leading airfreight carrier in Europe."

The airplane has been named 'Hello Europe,' and the flight is seen as a significant step into the future for Lufthansa CityLine.

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The flight to Dublin lasted for 1 hour and 43 minutes. Photo: Flightradar24

Filling the gap

The converted narrowbody airplane is expected to gradually complement the global route network of Lufthansa Cargo by utilizing them on routes closer to home. There are many other destinations in short-range within Europe and beyond that will eventually come under the scope of the A321F.

Apart from Dublin and Manchester, Lufthansa Cargo will eventually also fly the A321F to Istanbul (IST), Tel Aviv (TLV), Malta (MLA), and Tunis (TUN). Starting March 29th, the aircraft will also be deployed to Cairo (CAI) just in time for the summer schedule.

Lufthansa Cargo A321F
The aircraft will fly to several routes within Europe. Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

About the aircraft

The airplane carries the registration D-AEUC ahead of its first flight at Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo names its aircraft after relevant markets to which they fly. For the new A321 freighter, 'Hello Europe' was therefore chosen as a greeting to the European countries for whose e-commerce and same-day shipments it will primarily be used.

The airplane first flew in 2008 for Austrian low-cost carrier Niki and is 13.7 years old. To convert it for use as a freighter, D-AEUC was flown to Singapore's Seletar airport, where it spent seven months, from June 2021 to January 2022, before returning to Munich in January.

The twin-engine freighter is viewed as a versatile aircraft in its class, offering fast loading and unloading and enabling highly efficient flight operations. It can carry a payload of 28 tons and has a full load range of 3,500 kilometers. With a maximum takeoff weight of 89 tons, the narrowbody jet can fly at a cruising speed of 840km/h.

What are your thoughts about the A321F? Do share in the comment section below.

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