Bloomberg News

Lufthansa Criticizes Russian Request for Siberia Cargo Hub Move

November 01, 2007

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), Germany's biggest airline, criticized a Russian request that the company move a cargo hub to central Siberia from Kazakhstan as part of a broader disagreement that involves overflight rights.

Lufthansa said the Russian government has called on it to move its regional freight-handling hub in the Kazakh capital of Astana almost 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) eastward to Krasnoyarsk, airline spokesman Michael Goentgens said.

``Krasnoyarsk at the moment lacks sufficient technical infrastructure,'' Goentgens said in a phone interview.

Russian government officials couldn't be reached for comment after the close of business in Moscow.

Cologne, Germany-based Lufthansa and Russian competitor OAO Aeroflot (AFLT) were forced to reroute some cargo aircraft this week during the overflight dispute. Lufthansa planes were prohibited Oct. 28 from flying across Russia to reach other countries. Aeroflot cargo aircraft have been denied entry into Germany.

Russia, which stretches across 11 time zones, is a major transit route for goods flowing between Asia and Europe.

Germany and Russia are in talks to resolve ``misunderstandings'' that led to the ban on Lufthansa flights, Sven Ulbrich, a spokesman for Germany's Transport Ministry, said yesterday. He declined to give details about the dispute.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Torday at ptorday@bloomberg.net


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