Asset Publisher

Story Image

"We bear a responsibility as an industry"‚Äč

It was an unprecedented scenario that flickered across screens across Germany: hundreds of aircraft parked and stored on a runway. Passenger planes transformed into "preighters". And all eyes - those of the public, but also of politicians - were on Lufthansa Cargo. We asked CEO Peter Gerber what Lufthansa Cargo has learned from the crisis and what relevance airfreight has in times of crisis.

Corona has thrown the world off course. Suddenly, we were confronted with a global crisis that brought entire business segments to a halt. How important is air freight in such a situation?

Yes, we have never experienced a crisis of this magnitude before. Supply chains have collapsed, borders have been closed - but air freight has kept countries connected as best it could, has continued to secure global trade. That is why I would say: air freight has a vital role to play in the crisis. Solutions were needed that only air freight can offer. Firstly, speed - if masks are to be transported halfway around the world overnight, flying is the only option. The same applies if the production lines in factories are not allowed to stand still and the components for manufacturing are missing. But air freight also has an economic significance for the Lufthansa Group: while the fleet of the passage had to stay on the ground, we were allowed to fly. But that is only one side of the coin. Even the safe transport of essential goods such as insulin or medicines can only be guaranteed by air freight. This means that air freight also has a very strong social significance. As an industry, we have a responsibility and we are needed.

Has the crisis shown what we are particularly good at?

Yes, many activities, innovations and initiatives from the past have actually paid off, for example digitalisation. We have been driving this forward for many years and we were able to benefit from it during the crisis. The flight schedule changed daily - but thanks to the use of digital technology and intelligent connectivity, we were still able to inform our customers in real time about corresponding capacities and also make many processes contactless. The Corona crisis has given a further boost to digitalisation, which we welcome. We have also made our transport processes more efficient and flexible: for example, with flight schedule adjustments as required and our preighter flights.

Is there also something we have learned from the crisis? Are there areas where we need to do more?

As a company, we have a responsibility - we have always been aware of this and I think our commitment shows that. The topics "environment", "sustainability" and "social development" have always been high on the agenda at Lufthansa Cargo. Initiatives such as "Cargo Human Care", "Cargo Social Care", "Cargo Crisis Care", "Cargo Climate Care" in particular prove how strongly this idea of sustainability has long been anchored in our company. I would even go so far as to say that sustainable commitment is part of our DNA.

The current crisis has once again made it clear that we can turn things around for the better through our daily work alone. That we are quick to respond when help is needed. That we are reliable - even in challenging situations. That we are a stabilising factor.

Air transport brings people together worldwide, enables the fast transport of valuable goods, means development aid for many countries and enables people to get to know other countries and cultures. All this is indispensable in a free and globalised world. And it does not exclude sustainable action. We must focus more on this - in both an economic and social sense.

 

Corona has thrown the world off course. Suddenly, we were confronted with a global crisis that brought entire business segments to a halt. How important is air freight in such a situation?

Yes, we have never experienced a crisis of this magnitude before. Supply chains have collapsed, borders have been closed - but air freight has kept countries connected as best it could, has continued to secure global trade. That is why I would say: air freight has a vital role to play in the crisis. Solutions were needed that only air freight can offer. Firstly, speed - if masks are to be transported halfway around the world overnight, flying is the only option. The same applies if the production lines in factories are not allowed to stand still and the components for manufacturing are missing. But air freight also has an economic significance for the Lufthansa Group: while the fleet of the passage had to stay on the ground, we were allowed to fly. But that is only one side of the coin. Even the safe transport of essential goods such as insulin or medicines can only be guaranteed by air freight. This means that air freight also has a very strong social significance. As an industry, we have a responsibility and we are needed.

Has the crisis shown what we are particularly good at?

Yes, many activities, innovations and initiatives from the past have actually paid off, for example digitalisation. We have been driving this forward for many years and we were able to benefit from it during the crisis. The flight schedule changed daily - but thanks to the use of digital technology and intelligent connectivity, we were still able to inform our customers in real time about corresponding capacities and also make many processes contactless.

The Corona crisis has given a further boost to digitalisation, which we welcome. We have also made our transport processes more efficient and flexible: for example, with flight schedule adjustments as required and our preighter flights.

Is there also something we have learned from the crisis? Are there areas where we need to do more?

As a company, we have a responsibility - we have always been aware of this and I think our commitment shows that. The topics "environment", "sustainability" and "social development" have always been high on the agenda at Lufthansa Cargo. Initiatives such as "Cargo Human Care", "Cargo Social Care", "Cargo Crisis Care", "Cargo Climate Care" in particular prove how strongly this idea of sustainability has long been anchored in our company. I would even go so far as to say that sustainable commitment is part of our DNA.

The current crisis has once again made it clear that we can turn things around for the better through our daily work alone. That we are quick to respond when help is needed. That we are reliable - even in challenging situations. That we are a stabilising factor.

Air transport brings people together worldwide, enables the fast transport of valuable goods, means development aid for many countries and enables people to get to know other countries and cultures. All this is indispensable in a free and globalised world. And it does not exclude sustainable action. We must focus more on this - in both an economic and social sense.

 

Story Image

What does that mean for the future?

We will increase our commitment and intensify our efforts to achieve greater stability in the economic system, but also in the ecosystem. Since this stability can only be achieved at global level, the United Nations has defined goals for sustainable development: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The vision behind them is to fight poverty and inequality globally and together, to protect resources and to preserve our planet for future generations. We support these 17 goals and will focus on five goals in particular.

Which five goals are we talking about?

Goal number 1 is "No poverty" - the fight against poverty. We contribute to this through our daily work, because we enable all regions to access the world market. In this way we strengthen economic development on the ground, especially in emerging and developing countries. Another goal is "Good Health and Wellbeing", i.e. promoting a healthy life. By supplying sensitive medical goods worldwide, we are already ensuring this today - even in times of crisis.

The goal "Decent Work and Economic Growth" is somewhat more abstract, but just as relevant: Through sustainable growth and long-term reliability, we ensure that our volatile business environment is stabilised - which in turn creates new opportunities for other companies, people and regions. Behind the goal of "Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure" lies the strengthening of infrastructure and technological progress - a concern we support through increasing digitalisation and the consistent modernisation of our fleet and hubs.

And goal number 5 is "Climate Action": Our investments in a new fleet and lighter equipment, but also our participation in CORSIA, make our business fit for the future in two ways. On the one hand, we are increasing efficiency while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

What does the focus on the five goals mean for our daily work?

We want to promote greater awareness of the importance of air freight: Not only do we move goods, we also move things in the world. The five goals serve as a guideline to enable us to become even more involved in the future - and everyone has the opportunity to participate. To draw attention to this change, we will be sending out strong signals in the coming days and weeks.

What does that mean for the future?

 

We will increase our commitment and intensify our efforts to achieve greater stability in the economic system, but also in the ecosystem. Since this stability can only be achieved at global level, the United Nations has defined goals for sustainable development: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The vision behind them is to fight poverty and inequality globally and together, to protect resources and to preserve our planet for future generations. We support these 17 goals and will focus on five goals in particular.

Which five goals are we talking about?

Goal number 1 is "No poverty" - the fight against poverty. We contribute to this through our daily work, because we enable all regions to access the world market. In this way we strengthen economic development on the ground, especially in emerging and developing countries. Another goal is "Good Health and Wellbeing", i.e. promoting a healthy life. By supplying sensitive medical goods worldwide, we are already ensuring this today - even in times of crisis.

The goal "Decent Work and Economic Growth" is somewhat more abstract, but just as relevant: Through sustainable growth and long-term reliability, we ensure that our volatile business environment is stabilised - which in turn creates new opportunities for other companies, people and regions.

Behind the goal of "Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure" lies the strengthening of infrastructure and technological progress - a concern we support through increasing digitalisation and the consistent modernisation of our fleet and hubs.

And goal number 5 is "Climate Action": Our investments in a new fleet and lighter equipment, but also our participation in CORSIA, make our business fit for the future in two ways. On the one hand, we are increasing efficiency while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

What does the focus on the five goals mean for our daily work?

We want to promote greater awareness of the importance of air freight: Not only do we move goods, we also move things in the world. The five goals serve as a guideline to enable us to become even more involved in the future - and everyone has the opportunity to participate. To draw attention to this change, we will be sending out strong signals in the coming days and weeks.