In its 45th anniversary year and against a background of low yields, continued overcapacity and declining volumes, the Cargolux Group performed extremely well, achieving record levels of tonnage and block hours and ended the year on a net profit after tax of USD 49 million. The company outperformed not only the market, but also its direct competitors in Europe who, in some cases, retired freighters or reduced their air cargo activities.
The Cargolux Group in 2015 grew its freight tonne kilometers (FTK) by 8.7%; the company currently ranks at No. 7 among the world’s cargo operators, according to IATA data, and is the largest all-cargo airline in Europe. The airline positioned itself above the average growth rate of IATA’s top 20 air cargo carriers.
In 2015, Cargolux carried 889,652 tonnes of freight on its global network, 7.4% more than in 2014. With 26 Boeing 747 freighters at year-end, a mix of 747-400 and 747-8 freighters and the largest fleet in its history, it achieved a record 114,792 block hours, an increase of 8.8% over the all-time high in 2014. The average load factor remained fairly stable at 65.9%, even with a larger fleet and increased capacity. The Group’s average market share in 2015 grew to 3.8%.
For Cargolux, its complementary Chinese hub, Zhengzhou, was a major focus during 2015. Flights increased to 13 per week by year-end and the company introduced transpacific services between Zhengzhou and Chicago. By the end of 2015, Cargolux had flown over 65,000 tons of freight to and from Zhengzhou.
In early 2016, the Cargolux Board of Directors approved an investment of USD 77 million for ‘Cargolux China’, the new joint venture Chinese cargo airline based in Zhengzhou. ‘Cargolux China’ is expected to start operations in 2017, focusing on transpacific and intra-Asian routes. Its fleet is planned to grow to five 747 freighters within the first three years of operation.