(L-R) India's Minister for Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapati
Raju with Lufthansa Cargo's Helge Krueger-Lorenzen, vice president for
Asia Pacific, and Veli Polat, regional director, South Asia & Middle
East, at the 'baptism' and naming ceremony.
A common enough greeting in India is now
ready to travel the world—and the credit goes to Lufthansa Cargo.
An MD-11 freighter from Lufthansa's cargo fleet with the registration
"D-ALCJ" touched down at Delhi International Airport on March
18, 2015, for its official baptism ceremony in which it was named "Namaste
India" (translation: "Greetings India")
The official naming—very much like
the naming of a ship—was done by Dr Alexis von Hoensbroech, board
member, Products & Sales of Lufthansa Cargo and Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi
Raju, union minister of Civil Aviation. In keeping with Indian tradition,
a coconut was broken, its water sprinkled on the plane, and tilaks (a
mark in red paste) were applied on the foreheads of the two pilots who
had flown the plane to Delhi.
The freighter has been named "Namaste
India" to symbolize the significance of India as one of the most
important markets for Lufthansa's global air freight services. Said Dr.
Alexis von Hoensbroech: "The 'Namaste
India' greeting also illustrates the special bond between Lufthansa Cargo
and India. We are proud to be the leading European cargo carrier from
India to Europe."
Lufthansa Cargo has long standing connections
with customers in the air cargo industry since 1959 and grew further with
the first freighter operations in the 1970s. Today, Lufthansa Cargo offers
59 weekly flights between India and Europe including the services of Lufthansa.
"Namaste India" is the eighth
Lufthansa Cargo aircraft to be renamed in the last few months. The names
of the aircraft are based on the winning idea of an open creative competition
organized by Lufthansa Cargo to rename their entire fleet in 2013. More
than 40,000 potential aeroplane names were received by Lufthansa Cargo
within six weeks and the jury decided on the idea of "Saying hello
around the world." All the freight aircraft in the Lufthansa Cargo
fleet are now being changed to greetings in around 20 languages. The last
one that was named was "Konnichiwa Japan" and has been taking
Japan around the world.