In their meeting held today (19th January), Cargolux’s Board of Directors, including the representatives of Luxembourg’s trade unions, unanimously endorsed the Cargolux China project. According to the decision, the Chinese newcomer will take off on its maiden flight in 2017.
With today’s decision, the carrier’s Board of Directors paved the way for adding a new chapter to the 46 years of Cargolux history . Centre piece of their vote is the okaying of funds totaling
US$77 million to be spent in Cargolux’s future Chinese offspring. This sum enables Luxembourg’s flag carrier to obtain 35 percent in Cargolux China. Other stakeholders are Henan’s Civil Aviation
Development and Investment Company (HNCA), holding 49 percent, Henan’s Airport Group (8 percent) and the Xin Gang Investment & Development Co of Zhengzhou Airport Economic Experimental Zone
the remaining 8 percent. The group is responsible for developing the ground infrastructure around Henan’s capital city Zhengzhou on a land area of 415 km² stretching around Zhengzhou
According to CEO Dirk Reich of Cargolux, the upcoming ground works include the enlargement of Zhengzhou Airport from currently two runways to five in the years to come.
Flying Transpac and intra-Asia
Zhengzhou’s Xinzheng International will be Cargolux China’s future gateway. If all goes well, the new carrier will start operating in 2017, deploying three Boeing 747-400 freighters. Although the last word has not yet been spoken, Reich tends to purchase used aircraft instead of leasing equipment or buying newly manufactured cargo planes from U.S. producer Boeing.
The manager states that Cargolux China will focus on transpacific routes during the first phase, linking for instance Zhengzhou with Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles or Seattle. Simultaneously, also intra-Asian routes will be served. He denied any plans that the newcomer might cannibalize existing routes of parent Cargolux.
In a second step, Cargolux China’s fleet will be upped to five 747-400Fs and expand the network by flying to Australia, Africa, Mexico and even South America. “Specifying any destinations today would be too premature,” says Dirk, “since we need to thoroughly evaluate the markets and the future network of Cargolux China before delivering any announcement.”
Asked about the look of Cargolux China’s future fleet he says that this is still an open issue. “But I’m sure that Cargolux’s stylized traditional three boxes will be seen on the hull and the red colour displayed on our own fleet will also play an important role.”
Once Cargolux China is airborne, the group’s total fleet will comprise 30 Boeing 747 freighters.