Cargolux ‘cautious’ after US$18.3m loss

THE chairman of Cargolux – Europe’s largest all-cargo airline – says he is “expecting trading conditions to remain more than challenging” this year after the carrier reported a net loss of US$18.3m in 2011.

Albert Wildgen revealed a several elements, including weak demand for air freight and record fuel price levels, contributed to Cargolux’s disappointing annual results compared with the $59.8m profit it made in 2010.

“It is difficult to pinpoint one reason specifically, as a combination of factors impacted our performance negatively,” he explains, “including excess capacity in the markets, steadily rising oil prices, an unfavorable fleet mix coupled with higher wet-leasing costs and reduced network flexibility resulting from the delays in the 747-8F programme.”

Cargolux took delivery of the third of 13 747-8F on order in 23 March, swelling its fleet to 15 Boeing freighters.

2011 was an eventful year for the company with Qatar Airways acquiring a 35 per cent stake for about $260m in June and its former chief executive officer Ulrich Ogiermann being jailed in the US for 13 months after pleading guilty to price-fixing charges.

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