Lufthansa’s cargo unit has postponed a decision on whether to exercise the first of five options for Boeing 777F freighter planes due to the current tough market conditions, the unit’s chief executive said.

Lufthansa Cargo, the air freight arm of Germany’s largest airline, placed firm orders for five of the freighter planes, with four to be in service this year already.

The planes were originally to be used to expand its fleet, but now they will instead replace its older MD-11 freighter planes after an expected pick-up in air freight markets did not transpire last year.

Lufthansa Cargo has options for a further five of the aircraft, which cost around $300 million each at list prices.

Lufthansa Cargo was originally due to make a decision on whether to firm up the first option in the second half of this year, but has agreed with Boeing to postpone the decision by 13 months, Karl Ulrich Garnadt said on Tuesday at the group’s annual press conference.

However, the package of five options still exists, he added. (Reuters)