Cargolux rebounds

Things are looking up in Luxembourg, at least in the air freight business. Political scandal may have brought down the government, but all-cargo carrier Cargolux is on the verge of making peace with its unions, an investor is reported to have been found to take over the 35% stake abandoned by Qatar Airlines last year, and interim CEO Richard Forson says cargo volume for the first half of 2013 was up 13% — without too much sacrifice of yield. (Full details of Mr. Forson’s interview with our European editor Alex Lennane can be found on her Loadstar website)

The carrier has also taken steps to better manage capacity. It reached an agreement with Boeing to defer delivery of some of the four remaining 747-8Fs it has on order (one of which has already been put into desert storage), and is about to return one of its 747-400BCFs to the lessor.

So does that mean the future is rosy for Cargolux? Hardly.

  • Management and unions are no longer at each other’s throats, but a final agreement has not yet been signed.
  • A deal with an investor to take over the 35% stake currently held by the government may be imminent, but it has not been finalized.
  • Volume is up and capacity is being reined in, but until the world economy returns to growth and drives sustained growth in demand for air freight, no all-cargo carrier can be confident in the future.

But even with those caveats, it seems safe to say that Cargolux’s future is looking a lot rosier than it did at the beginning of this year.

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