Crisis? What crisis?

It once flew for Jade Cargo International, but will soon be wearing Cargolux colors.
It once flew for Jade Cargo International, but will soon be wearing Cargolux colors.

It almost seems like there are two Luxembourg-based all-cargo carriers called Cargolux.

For two years, the aviation media have been full of news about the Cargolux that was (or soon would be) in deep trouble. Bad strategic decisions, poor choice in the sale of a 35% share of the company, senior executives jumping ship, management at war with unions, government interference…

But during that same two years, Cargolux reported steadily improving financial results, record cargo volumes, fleet modernization with 747-8 Freighters, and, most recently, the launch of trans-Pacific service based on the fifth-freedom rights granted to it by the Civil Aviation Authority of China. All topped off by an announcement today of the addition of yet another freighter – this time a 747-400ERF (originally delivered to now-defunct Jade Cargo International) on lease from AWAS.

Could this be the same Cargolux featured in so many negative news reports? How does one reconcile the soon-to-be-doomed Cargolux of the news stories with the carrier that is seeing business grow so strongly that even the new 747-8F fleet is not providing sufficient capacity? What happened to the crisis that would bring the once-proud carrier to its knees?

There is no question that many senior executives did resign, nor is there any doubt that labor relations are strained (to say the least). But the strategic decisions – the acceptance of an offer by China-based HNCA for a 35% stake, and the consequent adoption of a dual hub strategy with Luxembourg at one end and Zhengzhou at the other – seems to be paying off.


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