March 20 - Chapman Freeborn Airchartering and Lufthansa Cargo have signed a strategic cooperation agreement, which will see the global aircraft charter specialist, handle Lufthansa Cargo's third-party chartering requirements and allow the German airline t

An official statement said that the agreement will give Lufthansa Cargo's international sales force and client base access to the full range of charter aircraft through Chapman Freeborn's global network of 35 offices  - from helicopters and light aircraft for time-critical freight, up to giant Antonov AN-225 aircraft for heavy and outsize cargo requirements.
It adds that Chapman Freeborn clients will benefit from the enhanced access to Lufthansa Cargo's freighter fleet - but maintain its position of neutrality in the marketplace and continue to work in partnership with cargo airline suppliers worldwide.
The deal follows the news at the end of last year that the airline's LH Cargo Charter agency would no longer be a standalone unit.

Lufthansa board member product and sales Dr. Andreas Otto said: "We will continue offering customers flexible and high-value charter solutions in the future. With the newly adapted structure, we are leaner and more focused, and can offer our own aircraft even easier and faster. Moreover, with Chapman Freeborn, the world's leading aircraft charter specialist, we have gained a new and strong partner."
Russi Batliwala, ceo of Chapman Freeborn, added: "We're delighted to cooperate with Lufthansa Cargo as one of the world's leading cargo carriers. Our joint customers will benefit from this cooperation and can be sure of finding the right charter solution, anytime."

The agreement, which will take effect on April 1, has received a mixed response from other charter brokers with one saying that he would have preferred to see Lufthansa purely as a supplier of capacity.

Previously, many in the air cargo broker community had expressed concerns about the independence of LH Cargo Charter operations from those of its parent, long suggesting that a broker within an airline is inevitably tied to that airline's aircraft, although LH Cargo Charter always denied that this has been the case. In addition, some have questioned whether the MD-11F is an aircraft suited for heavy and OOG gauge air cargo charter operations.

2013 has continued to be a difficult year for the air cargo charter market and overcapacity in the scheduled sector continues to intensify competition.

From left to right: Bettina Kaufmann, general manager Germany, Chapman Freeborn; Stefan Wieners, vice president global network and sales steering; Dr. Andreas Otto, Lufthansa Cargo, board member product and sales (Vorstand Produkt und Vertrieb); Russi Batliwala, ceo, Chapman Freeborn; Benjamin Pfeifer, executive assistant to Dr. Andraes Otto; Shahe Ouzounian, coo, Chapman Freeborn