CargoForwarder Global’s latest report on Cargolux and their China plans has triggered hefty reactions by Luxembourg’s local media and also trade unions. This because rumors were fired that the airline intends shifting some of their Findel flights to Germany. While the debate is accelerating Sr. VP Legal Affairs & Compliance Henning zur Hausen has given notice and will leave the carrier with immediate effect.
This step comes out of the blue: Henning zur Hausen has quit Cargolux, reliable sources confirmed today to CargoForwarder Global. Voices say he is moving to Etihad. At Cargolux nobody was
available for a comment.
His resignation comes at a moment that is characterized by a highly emotional debate in Luxembourg concerning future strategic and commercial steps intended by the flag carrier Cargolux.
The controversial discussion was prompted by an article published 29 October in CargoForwarder Global in which CV Helmsman Dirk Reich announced serving a German airport in order to up the tonnage loaded on board of his fleet on eastbound flights.
Immediately after this had been aired, rumors were spread in Luxembourg that CV intends abandoning its home base Findel airport. Even credible media joined this bandwagon, with reference to CargoForwarder Global, but unfortunately citing the contents of our report wrongly.
For instance, as published by the renowned paper Wort.Lu that wrote in today’s issue (4 November): “Unlike the information spread by CargoForwarder Global, Cargolux will not turn its back to Luxembourg Findel Airport.” Fair enough to say that when being informed by us about their misinterpretation of our article they immediately deleted the incriminating paragraph.
However, the public outcry is there, accusing Cargolux’s management to forge ahead with plans for outsourcing some operations to its subsidiary in Italy or the future offspring Cargolux China.
The government steps in
Outsourcing, abandoning Luxembourg Airport? None of this stood in our exclusive report on CV’s future strategy published last week.
Meanwhile even the Grand Duchy’s government intervened, confirming that the dual hub strategy agreed between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou is been realized as originally planned. In a meeting with leading members of the OGBL union Luxembourg’s Minister of Infrastructure Francois Bausch reassured that not a single Findel flight operated by CV will be transferred to a German or any other European airport.
Due to Luxembourg’s heated atmosphere and to contribute to objectivity we decided to publish Bausch’s statement in full length:
Here is what Bausch's office has to say:
“At a meeting with the Union OGB-L Transport, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, wished to recall that the agreement with HNCA which focuses on the implementation of a "dual hub strategy" therefore the development of a unit of a European logistics hub at the airport of Luxembourg, and the other a Chinese logistics hub at the airport of Zhengzhou, has not changed and will be implemented as planned. In line with this strategy, it is clear that no Cargolux flight operating from Findel will be substituted with a flight from Germany or other European countries. The above agreement also provides for the implementation of a feasibility study on the creation of a "joint venture airline," study which is currently nearing completion. It is important to note that it was only after reaching an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties in terms of funding or commercial and administrative management, the creation of a "joint venture airline" will become possible. In the context of the implementation of the "dual hub strategy" LuxAirport officials, together with their Chinese counterparts, are finalizing an agreement on cooperation between the airports of Luxembourg and Zhengzhou. This agreement will be signed within a few weeks by a Chinese delegation that will travel to Luxembourg for the occasion.”
Provided by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure
Final comment comes from OGBL’s Head of Aviation Affairs, Hubert Hollerich, who attended the meeting with Bausch:
"Cargolux should rethink its communication policy. Unnecessary stress does not help to improve the already strained social climate in the company. The energy should be used to carry on the upcoming Collective Work Agreement negotiations in a constructive spirit."
Upcoming airport cooperation LUX - CGO
On the fringes of the gathering it became evident that Luxembourg Findel officials are in final negotiations with their Zhengzhou peers to finalize a pact for a close cooperation of their airports. The agreement is expected to be signed in the coming weeks during a visit of a Chinese delegation.
Niek van der Weide joins CV
At more or less the same time that Mr zur Hausen’s departure was signaled, the Cargolux Board of Directors announced that Niek van der Weide, a well know figure in air cargo management circles, has joined the company as of 1. November taking up the position of Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing. Niek also becomes a member of Cargolux’s Executive Committee.
He fills the position vacated by Robert van der Weg who left some months ago to join AirBridge Cargo Airlines.
Niek van der Weide brings more than 30 years of air cargo experience with him into his new position. He started his cargo management career with Martinair Holland in 1972 and has since held senior positions with Lan Chile Cargo, European Cargo Services and most recently as Vice President Cargo Sales for Qatar Airways.
Heiner Siegmund / John Mc Donagh