Cargolux survives a difficult year in 2009

Cargolux Airlines International (Luxembourg) saw a reduction in tons sold and the decline in yields which resulted in a drop in revenue of 34 percent to $1.3 billion (US) as the weak economy hit cargo operators very hard. Cargolux recorded an overall loss of $153 million (US) for 2009.

Cargolux kept its fleet of 16 Boeing 747-400Fs in operation. However, a lower utilization of each aircraft meant that, in practice, the company had the equivalent of two aircraft on the ground during the months of June and July, 2009.

In September and October, Cargolux delivered two Boeing 747-400F aircraft to UPS in a deal that had been concluded before the financial crisis hit and was intended to facilitate the planned delivery of the new Boeing 747-8F freighters in 2009. However, by the time those two aircraft left the fleet, Cargolux actually found a need for more capacity, as the cargo markets began to rebound.

To cover the demand, Cargolux leased-in up to three Boeing 747-200Fs for the peak season in the last three months of the 2009.

As a result of the losses incurred and to ensure the survival of the company, a re-capitalization of Cargolux became necessary. In November 2009, the company implemented a restructuring of its capital structure in a two step transaction. First, shareholder SAirlines (part of the defunct Swissair Group) sold its 33.7 percent stake to Luxair, BCEE, SNCI (all current shareholders of Cargolux) and, as a new shareholder, the Luxembourg State.

The production delay of the new Boeing 747-8F has pushed the first delivery to Cargolux from 2009 to late 2010.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Cargolux’s Boeing 747-4R7F LX-VCV (msn 34235) turns on the runway at Manston.