Cargolux’s losses almost doubled in 2012 to $35.1 million from $18.3 million a year earlier, as Europe’s largest all-cargo airline struggled to cut costs amid depressed demand and continued overcapacity across the global air freight industry.
The Luxembourg-based carrier stressed, however, that the loss was markedly lower than the $57 million deficit it had budgeted, as demand improved in the fourth quarter.
Revenue dipped to $1.74 billion from $1.87 billion in 2011; lower demand resulted in significant pressure on yields and load factors.
With demand continuing to firm in the first quarter of 2013, Cargolux said it remains “cautiously optimistic” for the full year.
“Considering the state of the industry and the economic difficulties worldwide, Cargolux fared better than anticipated in 2012, that gives me hope for the current year,” said Paul Helminger, chairman of the board of directors.
Cargolux carried 645,759 metric tons of cargo in 2012, compared with 658,000 tons in 2011 and 683,380 tons in 2010.
The airline, which was operating 11 747-400Fs and six 747-8Fs at the end of 2012, implemented a five-year business plan in February aimed at a return to profitability in 2014.
“Market conditions in 2012 were very difficult and I do not believe 2013 to be significantly less challenging,” Helminger said. “I am confident though in the strength of the Cargolux organization and in our ability to enhance our productivity and flexibility,” said Richard Forson, interim president and CEO.