May 1 - Cargolux Airlines carried almost 1 million tonnes of cargo on its global freight network during a volatile 2016. However, the carrier's profit fell some 90 percent year-on-year from USD49 million in 2015 to USD5.5 million in 2016; revenues fell by

A spokesman for the Luxembourg-headquartered Boeing 747 freighter operator said the dramatic fall in profitability was due to 2015 being an extraordinary year, which was positively impacted by strikes at US west coast ports and demand for car components following the recall of several hundred thousand cars requiring replacement airbags in the USA. The first eight months of 2016 was the complete opposite with significantly falling yields and demand.

Cargolux carried 964,131 tonnes of freight on its global network during 2016. For the year, the overall load factor stood at 66.76 percent. With a fleet of freighters - a mix of B747-400F, B747-400BCF, B747-400ERF and B747-8F aircraft - Cargolux flew 122,575 block hours representing a 6.7 percent increase over 2015.

Cargolux's operations to and from Zhengzhou, China, were further developed during 2016 and the destination is now the company's largest hub in mainland China, surpassing Shanghai. 105,000 tonnes of freight was shipped via the hub, up from 66,000 tonnes in 2015.

During 2016, the carrier also took delivery of its 14th B747-8F.

HLPFI reported in January 2016 that Cargolux approved an investment of USD77 million for Cargolux China - a new joint venture Chinese cargo airline based in Zhengzhou. The new airline was scheduled to start operations in 2017, focusing on transpacific and intra-Asian routes.

Cargolux says that it has now revised its timetable for the launch of the airline, which is scheduled to take to the skies in the fourth quarter of 2018.