Welcome To The
Building 261 Tribute Site
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:
Brief Early History Of
Lufthansa Cargo In New York
Opened in 1965 by Mr. Peter Hees, the very first Lufthansa Cargo facility in New
York was actually a small Quonset hut with virtually no office space, however it
served it's purpose of allowing Lufthansa Airlines to open it's first NYC
gateway for freight from throughout Germany into the USA. In fact,
according to reliable sources, most of the air freight documentation was done right from the front seat of
Pete's1948 Kaiser auto. Early air cargo was flown in to the USA from Germany in modified C46's.
Eventually Lufthansa Cargo moved out of the Quonset hut, first into building 80,
then over to building 84, and eventually into cargo building 86, at which point
new construction plans for an exclusive facility for Lufthansa Cargo were on the
A booming business back
in the 60's, Lufthansa's freighter operations steadily grew at a phenomenal
pace. With the implementation of the world's first 747F service ready to
commence, it was obvious 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 green light flashing
from headquarters in Frankfurt Germany, Mr. Hees along with the assistance of
engineers, submitted building plans for
a new 'state of the art' cargo facility to be constructed at JFK, leading to the
birth of Lufthansa Cargo Building 261.
Building 261 - Early Construction Photo
- Early Construction Photo #2 Date: 28JUN71
view of the main deck of a Lufthansa B747F
The new cargo facility plans called for over 4000 square feet of
floor storage space, along with a computer operated Elevated Transport Vehicle (ETV),
capable of storing over 200 aircraft containers and cargo pallets. Additionally, there was to be a
second computer automated storage "Stacker" system consisting of over 4000 storage
bins, offering additional storage space for smaller packages and
shipments. The Stacker was designed to allow the storage bins to travel around the
entire cargo facility for easy access. But, the truly unique part of this new facility was going to be the
aircraft's internal nose-dock feature, first ever
constructed at JFK, as well as for Lufthansa Cargo AG worldwide.
In late 1970, ground
construction commenced for Lufthansa's new JFK cargo plant. The location of
building 261 was on South Cargo Road,
just west of Federal Express Cargo, and directly across from the Seaboard World Cargo facility,
which was later leased to Korean Air Cargo.
For the next 32 years, Lufthansa
Cargo's large marquee could easily be seen by motorists from either direction of
the NYC Belt Parkway.
In later years, the completion of the new JFK Expressway offered
both travelers and
airport personnel a closer view of the facility. On a
lucky day, everyone enjoyed a quick peek of
Lufthansa's unique Nose-Dock in action.
70's aerial view of the new Lufthansa Cargo warehouse (Building 261)
at John F. Kennedy
Cargo AG: "A Cutting Edge Company
For decades, Lufthansa's Cargo warehouse was considered
the airport's #1, state of the art air freight facility in New York. The
dock feature ensured that
all cargo was
completely safe from damage caused by harsh weather elements, while offering a high degree of
security to cargo
stored inside the
facility. Computerized retrieval of cargo for delivery was
accurate and efficient, offering brokers and consignees unprecedented
service and satisfaction, which was Lufthansa Cargo's unconditional promise and guarantee
to it's customers.
This played a big part of the company's policy for success.
computerized Elevated Transport Vehicle (ETV) was manufactured by
the OTIS Elevator Company for Lufthansa, which directly connected the pallet
and container storage area to the aircraft's internal nose-dock.
This was a
big 'first' in the history of Lufthansa Cargo, and also served as the
for other airlines to follow.
This early 70's
advertisement for Lufthansa Cargo ran
in Business Week magazine.
(Click on the photo for a larger look at the staff and management)
Lufthansa Passenger Flights - We Move Cargo Too!
Even today, 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 heated and pressurized to
ensure total comfort and safety of all
traveling pets. Upon arrival, all cargo
is transferred to and from the main passenger arrivals area to the cargo
warehouse, where it is
inspected and cleared for release by U.S. Customs.
Passenger Flight Arriving At JFK D-ABOM
The International Arrivals Building At JFK- Early 70's Slide Photo
Lufthansa Douglas C-54 Prop-liner Parked At LH JFK Cargo
Lufthansa leased this Douglas C54 (N30042) from
Transocean in 1957 for trans-Atlantic freight service. It would be
by a leased Lockheed Constellation (1049H). Photo circa August
Cargo AG - Looking Beyond Into The Future
In 1987, Lufthansa's cargo facility underwent several comprehensive improvements,
starting with the extension of the western section of the Elevator Traveling
Vehicle, better known as the ETV, and floor storage
area. The first upgrade consisted of replacing the original obsolete ETV made in the early 70's by Otis corporation, with a brand new unit manufactured in Europe by Lodige Inc.,
exclusively for Lufthansa's JFK cargo facility. Additional upgrades included
new line flight and freighter cargo staging areas, consisting of 2 new extra
roller bed work stations along
with a new "Traveling Vehicle"
(TV). The TV was to be used for transporting pallets and containers from
trucks at doors 27 & 28, directly through the cargo facility to the ETV
storage system without a disruption to normal warehouse operations.
complete the upgrade project, 2 new spacious ramp side cooler units were
installed, each capable of holding 4 side door pallets, plus an additional
roller excess station which allowed side door pallets to efficiently move in and
out of the facility from ramp-side operations (XS3).
upgrades and improvements helped prepare Lufthansa Cargo's New York facility to
meet the growing challenges of moving it's highest freight volumes well into the
The 'Time Definite' 747-200C Freighter Arrives At The Lufthansa Cargo Facility
'Time Definite' B-747 200C Freighter
The LH Cargo Facility Nose Dock at JFK
Tugged Into The Nose-Dock Position
Grand View Of The Ramp Featuring The Lufthansa Cargo "YZ"
Freighter Nose-docked At
Cargo Building 261
North View Of Lufthansa's Warehouse Dock And Parking Area At Building
Warehouse Import Dock (photo taken from the 2nd floor maintenance mezzanine)
(Above Photo courtesy of David
Note the storage
bin (lower left) between the yellow lines starting it's journey around the entire
cargo facility, eventually re-entering the stacker inlet. This towline track system
was a part of the
warehouse's computerized bin stacker system, which remained in service
until June 2003, when
Cargo permanently closed it's doors at building
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.