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FRANKFURT: As Lufthansa's pilots halted half the airline's long haul flights on December 04 - including six cargo services - with their 10th strike this year, Lufthansa Cargo announced it had begun its joint-venture with All Nippon Airways.

lufthansa anaSince the beginning of the month the two airlines have been selling each other's services between Japan and Europe. On December 02 a 153 kg shipment of general cargo from Schenker-Seino was booked with Lufthansa on an ANA flight from Tokyo to London – and delivered 16 hours earlier than if shipped via Frankfurt. On the same day a Lufthansa Cargo freighter carried a 1.8 tonnes consignment booked through ANA from Tokyo to Frankfurt.

ANA Cargo CEO Akira Okada said: "I am delighted that we have implemented the world's first cargo joint venture of this kind. This partnership will improve the level of service offered to customers by generating a greater selection of routings and a wider range of service options."

ANA, which received anti-trust immunity from Japan and European regulators in September, expects the relationship to make both companies more competitive. ANA subsidiary ANA Cargo is responsible for operating and marketing the airline's B767 freighter fleet from its Okinawa hub.

With the pilot strike wiping at least €160 million from Lufthansa's operating profit this year, Reuters reported the protracted dispute is apparently not popular in Germany: '"In their cockpits, the pilots are in cloud cuckoo land," Ernst Elitz, a commentator for the large circulation daily Bild, wrote on Thursday. "For Lufthansa it's about surviving merciless competition. But the captains care only about their fat pensions and the dream of the good old days when there weren't any budget carriers."'

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