Following two years of talks, Lufthansa Cargo (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) and United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) have signed a joint venture agreement concerning cooperation in cargo services on routes between the United States and Europe.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, April 19, the Lufthansa Group unit said the two sides plan to cooperate on the availability of their capacity and through the alignment of their booking and handling processes.

"The carriers’ joint venture route network will provide greater flexibility and time savings to customers with thousands of new route combinations and more than 600 direct connections per week between the U.S. and Europe," it said. "The combined network offering creates additional benefits through access from either partner’s booking channels along with coordinated handling processes and transfers at numerous stations."

With the signing of the agreement now done, so the implementation phase of the joint venture project while now begin. During this stage of the agreement, the carriers will align their cargo IT systems and business processes with the goal to implement Business Day 1 later this year.

Lufthansa Cargo has partnership agreements with Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong Int'l) and ANA - All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda) covering cargo traffic between Germany and the Far East. For its part, United Cargo has partnership agreements with ANA - All Nippon covering transpacific services.