Cargolux in Need of Cash

During a recent meeting with union representatives the carrier’s Chairman Paul Helminger admitted that Luxembourg’s flag carrier is financially in troubled waters. This confession comes as surprise after the management had lately given its thumbs-up when publicly describing the business development.

CV Chairman Helminger supports the transfer of more 747-400Fs from Cargolux to Cargolux Italia  /  company courtesy
CV Chairman Helminger supports the transfer of more 747-400Fs from Cargolux to Cargolux Italia / company courtesy

To many Cargolux employees, Helminger’s confession must have come as a shock. After splitting with Qatar Cargo and liaising with Chinese investor HNCA instead,  things seemed to be turning step by step for the better. Now, however, Helminger spoke of cash injections exceeding U.S. $ 100 million per year which Cargolux needs to continue staying competitive.

Controversial outsourcing debate
To lower the financial burden, Helminger once more brought earlier plans to light to outsource additional freighters to the carrier’s Malpensa-based daughter Cargolux Italia. The original concept advocated that 3 more Boeing 747-400 freighters should be taken off CV’s fleet and handed over to its Italian offspring. However, that idea was shelved after massive resistance voiced by Cargolux’s cockpit crews in accord with Luxembourg’s trade unions OGBL and LCCB.

No panacea
According to Luxembourg’s daily WORT, Chairman Helminger spoke of “substantial savings” in relation to the outsourcing topic. In that case pilots could be employed locally under Italian working conditions, which would lead to lower expenditures and take off some financial pressure from the airline. Such a step would not necessarily be a panacea at all times and in all cases, he is quoted by WORT as saying, but it surely would help a lot. 

Focus on Africa
Meanwhile, on the occasion of today’s opening of Johannesburg-held Air Cargo Africa the carrier emphasized the importance of the African market for its business model. “Our network here significantly supports the Cargolux business worldwide,” stated Executive VP Niek van der Weide. Currently the airline serves 13 different African destinations and runs offices at all major trade centers on the continent for delivering customers the highest operational standards.  
“Cargolux’s African network focuses on the oil and gas industry,” says Niek van der Weide, “Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana, are two of West Africa’s strongest energy markets, which have increasingly demands on more direct flights for its equipment and support-related items.”

Heiner Siegmund

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