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Due to the then-valid regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA),[specify] German flag carrier airline Lufthansa could only offer limited cargo services. Therefore, German Cargo was set up as a non-IATA airline in 1977, accommodating Lufthansa's cargo charter operations. Flight services were launched on 8 May of that year, initially using a Boeing 707, and the airline was based at Frankfurt Airport, the hub of Lufthansa.
Soon, German Cargo began operating scheduled cargo flights as well, mainly to Eastern Africa and the Middle East. The transport of live animals played an important role in the airline's business portfolio, with the interiors of two Douglas DC-8 aircraft having been refurbished for the accommodation of horses. The airline also specialized in the transport of large, damageable goods.
In 1993 Lufthansa reshaped its cargo businesses, splitting German Cargo into two independent, newly founded companies: Lufthansa Cargo for scheduled cargo flights, and Lufthansa Cargo Charter for charter and lease services. During the transition phase, German Cargo was renamed on 1 May of that year and briefly operated as Lufthansa Cargo Airlines.
In its early years, German Cargo operated a fleet of four Boeing 707 aircraft. They were replaced by Douglas DC-8s, which formed the major part of the fleet during most years of the airline's existence. From 1990, the larger Boeing 747 as well as the smaller Boeing 737 were used, that were later transferred to Lufthansa Cargo. In detail, German Cargo operated the following aircraft types (all of which were cargo-configured):
During the 1970s and 80s, the aircraft were painted in plain yellow. From 1990, a livery similar to the one used by Lufthansa was used, though with a yellow tail fin featuring the German Cargo logo.
- dc-8.de: Amateur page on German Cargo and its Douglas DC-8s. Retrieved 2011-06-16. (in German)
- 1992 Lufthansa Cargo marketing video, on youtube.com (in German)
- German Cargo information on rzjets.net
- German Cargo fleet list at planespotters.net
- German Cargo fleet information at airfleets.net
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