Lufthansa Cargo is looking to grow its operations in Detroit and has announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art cargo warehouse under a multi-year development plan with ground handling agent Avflight.
As a first milestone, the airline moved its operations into a temporary warehouse on the apron area of Detroit Metropolitan Airport in August 2023. This recent move to an on-airfield facility will allow for streamlined operations and shorter distances in the handling of international cargo for loading and unloading aircraft.
Lufthansa said the major project took 3 years to plan, during which the airline identified Avflight as a suitable local partner with the same cargo ambitions. The airline added that Detroit is an important market for the carrier with currently more than 500 tonnes of cargo handled per year. It currently offers seven weekly passenger flights, including multiple truck connections to Chicago (ORD) and ad-hoc services.
Lufthansa explained that the relocation is a project with two phases. From August 2023, the carrier will operate from a former aircraft hangar that was converted into a temporary cargo warehouse. The more direct location allows for shorter handling times and offers opportunities to meet the requirements of special cargo shipments, including animals, valuable cargo and dangerous goods shipments.
In the second phase, it will support Avflight in designing a new cargo facility next to the existing structure, which the handling partner is under contract with the airport to construct. Discussions on this second phase of development are in the preliminary stages, but the goal is to be operational by the end of 2024.
Henry Julicher, head of sales and handling in Michigan and head of sales in the Midwest at Lufthansa Cargo, said there is a great demand for secure and professional transport solutions in Detroit particularly urgent components in the automotive sector, with ‘a lot of weekly freight traffic’ between Michigan and parts of the world, including destinations in Germany, Europe, South Africa and Thailand.