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Deutsche Post Discontinues Overnight Domestic Airmail Letters in Germany

In the interest of sustainability, Deutsche Post has announced that they will discontinue domestic overnight airmail letters in Germany.  In the future, all overnight domestic letter mail in Germany will be transported exclusively by road.

The End of an Era: Deutsche Post Discontinues Overnight Domestic Airmail Letter Service in Germany - Courtesy DHL Group

On Thursday (March 28, 2024), DHL Group announced that Deutsche Post will discontinue domestic overnight airmail in Germany.  In the interest of sustainability, all overnight domestic airmail letters will be exclusively transported by road in the future.  After 63 years of continuous service, the early morning hours of March 28th saw the last overnight flight by Eurowings and Tui Fly for transporting letter mail between northern and southern Germany.  The final routes were Stuttgart-Berlin, Hanover-Munich and Hanover-Stuttgart.  This transition to road transport for overnight letters is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 80 percent on the affected routes.

In Thursday’s announcement, DHL Group’s Post and Parcel Germany Division’s Chief Operations Officer, Marc Hitschfeld, said,

“We conclude the era of overnight letter airmail with mixed feelings.  In times of climate change, airmail for domestic letters within Germany can no longer be justified - also because there is no longer the same urgency associated with letter mail as in decades past.  So on the one hand, the end of domestic airmail is good news for the environment.  On the other hand, the end of overnight airmail closes a chapter of postal history which many Deutsche Post employees have identified with for decades.”

On August 22, 1961, Germany’s Federal Minister of Post and Communications, Richard Stücklen (CSU) and the chairman of Deutsche Lufthansa AG signed a contract for transporting letters and postcards by air within Germany without airmail surcharge.  The airmail network commenced operations on September 1st, 1961, with the goal of expediting letter service within Germany.  Lufthansa was the first partner in the overnight airmail network, serving all routes except the air corridor to Berlin, which was controlled by the Western Allies, and served by Pan Am until 1990.  In the following years, other carriers joined the network with Lufthansa terminating their service in 2008.  Frankfurt Airport served as the network hub for decades, but lost this role when night flights were banned at the airport in 2005.


Deutsche Post was still transporting around 430 metric tons of airmail letters as late as 1996, with 26 partner airlines serving 45 destinations nightly.  Ultimately, the volume was only 53 tons, with six aircraft serving the routes, amounting to approximately 1.5 million letters or 270,000 items per aircraft each night.


Source: DHL Group


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