Cargolux last year recorded record profits as the loss of bellyhold operations boosted demand for all-cargo aircraft.

The freighter operator, which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, achieved a 3745% year on year increase in net profits to $768.7m. Its previous record was $211.2m in 2018.

Cargolux also recorded revenues of $3.17bn — up 40% on 2019, while its  a bit increased 769% to $991.Demand also increased for the airline as volumes in terms of tonnes sold increased by 9.7% year on year in 2020 to 1.1m tonnes.

As a result of the demand increase and passenger airlines seeing their cargo networks slashed due to lost bellyhold capacity, Cargolux is currently (in 2021) ranked fourth in IATA’s ranking of the world’s top 25 international scheduled cargo carriers.

Its load factor last year was up by three percentage points on a year earlier at 68.7%.

The company said air cargo’s role throughout the coronavirus pandemic positively impacted its results.

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“2020 was marked by the outbreak of the Covid-19 global pandemic that heavily impacted the aviation industry, including air cargo,” the carrier said in a company Release. “The outlook for the year was originally quite bleak with production halted in China, due to the outbreak of what ultimately resulted in the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation resulted in a significant shortfall in available air freight capacity due to the grounding of most, if not all, long haul passenger operations. We experienced unprecedented demand for the transport of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supplies as well as for other products which came to rely on air transport to keep logistics lines intact.

“The company adapted its network to optimise its services and operate according to global market needs. Demand for charter services also remained strong throughout the year.”

It added in company release “Cargolux is proud of the fact that the airline honored all blocked space agreements, with our customers, that were concluded in 2019 when market conditions were significantly less favourable.”

At the end of December 2020, Cargolux’s fleet of 30 aircraft comprised of sixteen Boeing 747-400 freighters (10 B747-400Fs and 6 B747-400ERFs) and fourteen Boeing 747-8 freighters. 

Looking forward, Cargolux predicted a continued reliance on freighter capacity as passenger services continue to be affected by the pandemic.

“Over a year after the initial outbreak, the Covid-19 pandemic is still not behind us and much uncertainty remains as to the evolution of the virus and the pace and effectiveness of vaccination
programmes.

“This development would indicate that the supply chain will continue to need to rely on freighters to keep logistics chains running as the bulk of long-haul passenger aircraft remain grounded.”

Also Cargolux also announced the appointment of Christianne Wickler as Cargolux’ new chairman of the board of directors. Wickler is the first female to occupy the role.

“An entrepreneur and mother of four, Mrs. Wickler took over a small petrol station in Oberpallen, in 1982, which her father had entrusted to her,” the company said. “She developed the Pall Center, an ‘anti-gloom’ business concept that is close to the people, the banner of a group of supermarkets and grocery stores that she has masterfully managed for 38 years.

“Co-founder of the citizen collective “5fir12”, she entered politics by running in the legislative elections in 2013 on the Green Party list in the North of Luxembourg.

“Following the Green Party’s entrance into the Government coalition, she became a member of Parliament. However, six months later she decided to resign as a member of Parliament to devote herself fully to her family and to her business, which employs more than 300 people.”

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