MIAMI – German carrier Lufthansa (LH) successfully carried out its first A340 flight today evacuating 130 people from Afghanistan.
The aircraft used in the operation was an Airbus A340-300 (A343), which flew out of Tashkent Airport (TAS), Uzbekistan back home to Frankfurt (FRA) in Germany. All the evacuees were initially transported from the devasted capital of Kabul, Afghanistan to Tashkent by the German air force Luftwaffe while leaving the rest of the leg to LH.
After complete chaos at Kabul airport on Monday, the U.S. forces have at the moment secured the airport and several countries are deploying airlift missions to help stranded civilians and officials.
A Continuing Evacuation Mission
Besides the large military set up of the US in Afghanistan, Germany comes next and hopes to airlift several thousand German-Afghan dual nationals, rights activists, lawyers, and people who worked with foreign forces. The mission will carry on for the next few days.
Germany has officially deployed 600 military personnel in Afghanistan to help carry out the evacuation process as efficiently as possible. The entire airlift operation cost is around €40m, according to a document seen by Reuters.
Besides Tashkent, LH will also use Doha (DOH) in Qatar as a strategic bridge connection before flying to Germany.
Traffic rights, crew deployment, aircraft availability were all carried out in a short span of time.
According to planespotters.net, Lufthansa has a fleet of 15 active A340-300 aircraft, some with a two-class layout and some with a three-class. Most were supposed to retire but did not go as planned and the A340-300 along with the A330-300 kept flying all through COVID-19 even when LH’s A350, Boeing 747, A380 fleets were grounded.
Featured image: Beladung LH1540 nach ORD LHC Frankfurt. Photo: Lufthansa