Deutsche Lufthansa AG banned cargo from moving through its Frankfurt hub due to surging Covid-19 infections and related staff shortages in the German city.
The move will impact goods arriving from other parts of Germany, the rest of Europe and North America, according to an emailed statement Wednesday. Direct deliveries to Frankfurt —a major transport hub for coronavirus vaccines—are still possible, Lufthansa said.
Lufthansa Cargo is one of the world’s biggest air-freight companies and imports and exports essential components for some of Germany’s leading manufacturers. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport.
“We are currently experiencing an increasing number of coronavirus cases and related staff absences within our organization, mainly at the Frankfurt hub,” a Lufthansa spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. The carrier will seek to restart operations as soon as possible, she said, without giving an estimated date.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on global supply chains, leading to port shutdowns that have inflated freight rates and sparked shortages of materials, components and finished goods.
Lufthansa Cargo’s Frankfurt site has one of Europe’s largest runway-side cold-storage facilities and is a major transit hub for coronavirus vaccines being shipped from German factories producing the Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc. shots to the wider world. The company didn’t comment on whether vaccine supplies were effected.
Frankfurt is home to Germany’s largest airport and plays a major role connecting the company’s manufacturing titans to overseas markets.
The city’s coronavirus rate currently exceeds Germany’s national level as the omicron variant spreads, with 1,352 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, according to Robert Koch Institute figures. That compares with 1,172 the previous week.