The higher net profit represented a 73% increase from the previous year’s net income of $122.3 million, even though block hours only increased by a modest 3%, to 138,179, compared to 2017. During the year, Cargolux also carried a total of 8.4 billion freight tonne kilometers – a slight dip of 0.8%, year-over-year – which drove its load factor down from 70.1% in 2017 to 67.9% in 2018.
The carrier cited “a global softening in market demand” in the second half of 2018, a shorter peak season that the previous year, and “uncertainty regarding potential trade wars, geopolitical unrest and Brexit,” as some of the factors that negatively affected its performance.
Still, spirits were riding high over the high profit figures. “Strong focus on the management of our capacity and yields, increased demand for specialized shipments, a record year for our charter division and the diversification into offering ACMI solutions all contributed to the performance achieved,” said Cargolux president and CEO, Richard Forson.
During 2018, the carrier undertook “a complete IT overhaul to streamline processes,” which was complemented by its ongoing digitalization initiatives, Forson said.
In terms of corporate social responsibility, Cargolux also established a set of sustainable development goals for increased fuel efficiency, and reduce its CO2 emissions and carbon footprint. For 2018, Cargolux and its subsidiary Cargolux Italia reduced fuel use by 6,270 tonnes and produced 16,750 fewer tonnes CO2, compared to 2017.
This year, Cargolux said it will begin receiving three used 747-400ERFs from a deal worked out last year to expand its fleet. According to our sister publication, Cargo Facts, the first aircraft likely to join the Cargolux fleet this year was originally delivered to TNT Airways in 2008, but for the majority of its commercial life until 2017, has operated by ASL Airlines Belgium on behalf of Emirates. The other two 747-400ERFs are also coming from ASL.