Lufthansa Cargo to Go to Siberia

BERLIN -- Germany and Russia have sealed an accord on moving Lufthansa Cargo's regional transit hub from Astana, Kazakhstan, to Krasnoyarsk, the German Transportation Ministry said Friday.

After two days of talks in Munich, the two sides agreed that Lufthansa Cargo's aircraft would begin landing at Krasnoyarsk at the latest five months after modernization work at the city's airport is completed, the ministry said.

Overflight rights for the cargo aircraft would be extended until the end of the summer flight timetable on Aug. 30, and Lufthansa would also be granted new overflight rights to South Korea, it added.

Russia briefly stopped Lufthansa cargo planes from flying through its airspace at the end of October, saying the German carrier should move its regional hub to Siberia as agreed.

Lufthansa Cargo uses Kazakh capital Astana, its second-biggest cargo airport after Frankfurt, as a connecting point for flights to southeast Asia.

A spokesman for Lufthansa said Friday that the overflight rights and the hub switch were not connected.

"When the operational and commercial conditions are met and a lead time of five months is guaranteed, we will move to Krasnoyarsk," the spokesman said.

German and Russian officials were scheduled to meet again in Krasnoyarsk in September to discuss progress in the building work at the airport, the German Transportation Ministry said.