Back in late 2016 you’d have been betting on Cargolux having collapsed by now. It’s CEO, Richard Forson more or less told the industry and its staff – who took huge pay cuts to stay in business, that the end was pretty much nigh.
Freight rates were so low the company barely made a profit after a brief improvement in 2015. In many ways Cargolux results mirror the overall industry picture almost exactly, possibly more so than others.
2010 was highly profitable, then in 2011 the massive collapse in air freight as China went downhill , the recession finally having caught up with it, led to two years of major looses, a slight recovery in 2013 that slipped back in 2014, a minor boom in 2015, followed by yet another collapse in 2016.
Even though Cargolux took on investment from HNCA Group it barely helped.
Then came 2017. Suddenly there wasn’t enough air freight capacity to go around and Cargolux’s investment in large freighters – especially the challenging 748F, paid off big time – and continues to do so in 2018.
Cargolux maintained its position as the worlds 6th largest air cargo operator and shifted over 1 million tons of freight in 2017, with the best utilisation in the business.
The CEO was quick to thank the companies employees – it was their dedication to making the company work that had brought about the positive future Cargolux now seems to have. Provided of course the next recession and air freight collapse isn’t just around the corner. With American debt levels piling up at an unprecedented rate, many see a sharp downturn as almost inevitable in the next 3 to 5 years, especially if interest rates rise.