Freighter airline Cargolux Group has achieved its best year on record in 2021, with revenues reaching USD4.4 billion – an increase of 40 percent over 2020.

Cargolux 747-8F

Profit after tax hit USD1.3 billion, which is an increase of 68 percent over 2020.

“The increase in financial performance was driven by both an increase in tonnage and higher yields,” said Cargolux. “This allowed the further strengthening of the group’s balance sheet especially in the building up of its cash reserves.

“The market in 2021 continued to be influenced by the pandemic and its repercussions. The capacity shortage and strong yields experienced in 2020 continued throughout 2021, where demand remained strong. Backlog issues on the global supply chain, ocean freight capacity constraints, and limited belly-hold availability led to sustained demand for air cargo services with volumes close to peak season production throughout the year,” said Cargolux.

Operationally, 2021 was more challenging compared to 2020, the company added. “Quarantine measures introduced in various countries, confinement of crew to hotels, lack of suitably qualified staff and infrastructure, especially in the USA, all compounded by full warehouses and a shortage of trucking services. The temporary blockage of the Suez Canal also resulted in customers further relying on air cargo for their shipments. The resulting capacity shortage therefore remained under pressure, resulting in year-round high volumes and strong yields reflected in the figures above.”

Looking ahead there are several major uncertainties. Global supply chains continue to experience considerable strain, and capacity is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months.  

Geopolitical tensions are at an all-time high as war returns to Europe and there is currently no apparent resolution in sight. The sanctions imposed on Russia have impacted international trade and the grounding of Russian carriers has further reduced available capacity whilst at the same time increasing costs for airlines due to longer flying times to and from Asia as the use of Russian airspace is no longer available. Additionally, the price of jet fuel has become extremely volatile and significantly higher than in 2021.

“Global trade will likely suffer the consequences of these circumstances and pressure on supply chains will continue,” said Cargolux. “The importance of the air cargo industry, especially in times of global logistics crisis, continues to be re-enforced and Cargolux will continue to apply its flexibility and agility to respond to demand as best it can to best serve its customers.”