Today’s picture shows Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing MD-11F freighter registration D-ALCC in full ground operations at Bangalore. D-ALCC was delivered to Lufthansa Cargo in 1998.
The aircraft features a forward port side cargo door of 140 in x 102 in or 3.56 m x 2.59 m (see the edge of the door open on the top of the aircraft). The main deck volume is 15,530 cubic feet (447 m3) and the aircraft can carry a maximum payload of 200,151 lb or close to 91 metric tonnes (about eight truckloads full).
Due to the lack of a seaport and also the high tech nature of its industry and large food and flower exports, Bangalore leads India in air-freight usage as a percentage of GSDP. Lufthansa Cargo is a major player Bangalore’s air freight market, thanks to being one of the first to commence regularly scheduled cargo operations in the city, on September 26, 1989. This long term commitment is paying handsome dividends today. The cargo division operates five MD-11F flights a week and the passenger side operates a daily Boeing 747-400 which gives the airline plenty of cargo hold space.
In the photo you can see the frenetic pace at which cargo is unloaded and re-loaded to ensure the aircraft is turned around in under 90 minutes. The photo shows classic cargo operations. Large size pallets are loaded on the main deck from the left main cargo door. Smaller pallets are loaded in to the belly from the right belly door. In the background stands a bag loader at the ready to load last minute urgent cargo which is not palletised. Also observe, unlike passenger operations, where the human boarding is from the left of the plane, in cargo operations it is from the right to prevent any fouling with the main cargo door which is also on the left.
The largest operator of the MD-11F is US delivery company FedEx Express with 58 followed by Lufthansa Cargo with 18. Sadly Lufthansa Cargo lost one aircraft, D-ALCQ recently in Saudi Arabia.
A special thanks to the folks at Lufthansa who allowed me to take this photograph.