Global insight

Fatigued, unhappy pilots: a bleak warning for Cargolux

Cargolux China set for 2017 take off

All-CARGO airline Cargolux is to pour US$77m into its new subsidiary Cargolux China, in which its shareholder – Chinese state-owned Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment – will own the largest stake at 49 per cent.

Based at Zhengzhou, the capital of east-central China’s Henan province, the new carrier’s focus is on transpacific and intra-Asian shipments.

Operations will get under way in 2017, with a  fleet expected to grow to five B747 freighters within the first three years.

“Cargolux China is the youngest addition to the Cargolux Group which currently operates 25 B747 freighters, including four operating for Cargolux Italia,” a statement points out.

“With the China joint venture, we will expand our [total] fleet to 30 aircraft by 2017.”

Cargolux’s main board, which includes Luxembourg banks BCEE (10.9 per cent), Societe Nationale de Credit et d’Investissement Luxembourg (10.67 per cent) and the Luxembourg government (8.32 per cent), approved the major investment.

Whilst Cargolux will own a 35 per cent stake in the new venture, private company Xin Gang Investment and Development – responsible for the development of Zhengzhou Airport Comprehensive Economic Experimental Zone – will own eight per cent. The Henan Airport Group, which runs the airport, will be in possession of the remaining shares.

Under the Chinese airport’s ‘2040 master plan’, annual cargo capacity is projected to reach more than three million tonnes. The facility intends to construct five runways – including one dedicated to cargo flights – along with expanded airfreight facilities.

The news comes as the Luxembourg carrier reveals its tonnage grew 7.4 per cent to 889,746 tonnes last year, but its average load factor remained largely unchanged at 66 per cent, due to the increase in its fleet size.

“Up to and including November 2015, we reached a global market share of 3.8 per cent,” a statement adds.

The tail end of 2015 saw Cargolux’s pilots finally sign a new Collective Workers Agreement following a bruising, protracted 14-months of negotiations under the spectre of strike action.

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