Welcome To The
Building 261 Tribute Site
Our site is currently under
re-construction. Please check back for updates!
This site is dedicated to the
staff of employees both past and present,
who were assigned duties at the Lufthansa Cargo facility, located in
building #261 at John
F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Anyone wishing to contribute
or information can reach us by clicking below:
A Brief Early History Of
Lufthansa Cargo In New York:
Opened in the mid 50's by Mr. Peter Hees, the very first Lufthansa Cargo
facility in New York was actually a small metal 'Nissen
with virtually no office space, however it served the purpose of allowing Lufthansa Airlines to open it's first NYC
freight from Germany into the USA. At the time, and according
to reliable sources, most air freight
from the front seat of Peter Hees's 1948 Kaiser auto!
In 1957, Lufthansa Cargo moved into part of the east
wing of the Horseshoe building, when the Nissen Hut had to be demolished.
Notice below the 1950's Carey busses, which ran on a regular schedule between the
East Side Airlines Terminal in Manhattan, located directly next to the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel, and the Airport
itself. For many years, the Carey
bus service was
by passengers and airport employees.
Other passengers and airport employees were able to take a city bus to the
Gardens subway station located just opposite the court house in Queens.
Postcard Photo (circa 1955)
The Lufthansa ticket counter was left of the tower
ramp-side. The work area was said to only be 20 X 30 feet. If it
with winds from the east, the ticket agents sometimes needed wooden boards on
the floor just to stay out of the water. On the
left rear side was the only real permanent structure called "The Horseshoe
Airport In The Late 1950's
Lufthansa Cargo's first Nissen
Hut was actually located closer to airport entrance at the left, not seen in the
However, this is a spectacular 1950's view of exactly how Idelwild Airport looked when Lufthansa Cargo first opened in NYC.
Building 86 at JFK in New York 1962
Cargo NYC CEO Mr.
Peter E. Hees
(Building 86 / 1971)
German Airlines 'SuperCargo' Vintage Print Advertisement
Cargo - ramp view behind building 86 with loaded cargo ready to move to
Cargo - more ramp views behind building 86 of staged freight ready to be built
up on pallets
On February 8th, 1969, a massive category 2 nor'easter
winter storm struck the New York and Tristate area, leaving over 4 feet
high mountains of snow, paralyzing New York City and the surrounding areas. The
storm lasted for two consecutive days, causing Lufthansa's Saturday night shift
workers to stay on an emergency basis to help clear the ramp area. The
warehouse crew did not leave till the following Tuesday afternoon! Good
news, the claims manager at head office mentioned his pleasant surprise
there were no real water damage claims.
Cargo JFK - View of ramp at building 86 just after the heavy snow
storm of February 8th 1969
containers fully loaded with cargo ready for departure /
Aircraft jet engine ready for air-transport to Germany
Building 86 - JFK Office Staff 1971
(Above photos courtesy Peter
Lufthansa Douglas C-54 Prop-liner - Parked At LH JFK Cargo Facility
Lufthansa's first 1041 Constellation flight took place
at the end of June in 1955. Lufthansa also leased this Douglas C54 (N30042) from
Transocean in 1957 for trans-Atlantic freight service. It would be replaced the
by a leased Lockheed Constellation (1049H - below). Photo circa August
A booming business back in the 60's, Lufthansa's
freighter operations steadily grew at a phenomenal pace. With the world's
first 747F service ready to commence, Lufthansa Cargo needed to gear itself up
for bigger things to come. Eventually building 86 also became too small to
handle the enormous volume of cargo, and was considered inadequate. With
the go-forward light flashing
from headquarters in Frankfurt, Mr. Hees along with the assistance
several key managers and engineers submitted plans for
a new 'state of
the art' cargo facility to be constructed at JFK, leading to the
birth of Lufthansa Cargo Building 261.
Most notable credit
goes to the manager of the East Meadow computer department, Mr. Karl Vonnegut
and his entire staff, who with the valuable input from the airport cargo office staff developed
Lufthansa's first cargo computer software called:
"LOCATE", which stood for 'Lufthansa On Line Cargo Accounting And Tracing Evd'.
This custom software was used successfully for many years by cargo offices until
more updated computer technology became available. Additional credit also
goes to Head Office Auditor Mr. Rolf Deike from the engineering department in
Frankfurt, who served as Building 261 Project Manager, offering invaluable
support with his numerous visits to Lufthansa Cargo in NYC.
Lufthansa Passenger Flights - We Move Cargo Too!
Virtually all Lufthansa passenger flights carry freight in the
mostly in the form of built up pallets, containers,
loose freight and passenger baggage.
The rear belly compartment is pressurized and climate controlled to
ensure total comfort
safety of all
traveling pets. Upon arrival, all cargo
is transferred to and from the main passenger arrivals area to the cargo
inspected and cleared for release by U.S. Customs.
Passenger Flight Arriving At JFK D-ABOM (photo circa mid 1960's)
International Arrivals Building At JFK- Early 70's Slide Photo
The new cargo facility plans called for over 4000 square feet of
floor storage space with a computer operated ETV (Elevated Transport
Vehicle), capable of storing over 200 aircraft containers and cargo pallets.
Additionally, there was to be a second computer automated storage system called
'The Stacker', consisting of over 4000 storage bins, offering added storage space
for smaller packages and
private consignments. The Stacker allowed the storage bins to travel around the
entire cargo facility
for easy access. However, the truly unique part of this new facility was going to be the
aircraft's internal nose-dock feature,
a first ever
constructed at JFK, as well
as for Lufthansa Cargo AG worldwide.
Disclaimer: This site is not affiliated with Lufthansa Cargo AG, Lufthansa LSG Service
or any agency or provider connected with Lufthansa German Airlines Inc.
It's sole purpose is for historical value and educational viewing. Crane logo
and other graphics are copyright Lufthansa German Airlines AG - All rights reserved.