Freight specialist Cargolux Group achieved a full-year net profit of $286 million, but the figure is substantially down on the previous level of $1.6 billion.

Cargolux generated revenues of $2.97 billion for 2023, over 40% lower than its 2022 performance.

The carrier says the figures show the “cyclical nature” of the industry has returned, with the first half of last year falling “well below” the pre-pandemic period.

Cargolux adds that it experienced “significant pressure” on rates as a result of lower demand levels – a situation exacerbated by higher available belly capacity in passenger aircraft.

The carrier uses a fleet of 30 Boeing 747-8F and -400F jets. It is aiming to replace the -400Fs with 777-8Fs.

Cargolux 747-c-Cargolux

Source: Cargolux

Cargolux was profitable in 2023 but its figures were significantly lower than the previous year’s

Restrictions on operating through Russian airspace are still affecting its services to northern Asia, with higher operating costs from being forced to fly longer routes, and the company is concerned about the impact on trade from Middle Eastern conflicts.

E-commerce shipments led to a “surge” in demand for dedicated freighter capacity in the fourth quarter, it states.

But block hours for the year were still down by 7.8% and the average load factor slipped by nearly four points to 65.3%.

Cargolux has not given any forecast for 2024 performance, pointing out that future demand and costs are “difficult to predict”, but it says the industry is “heading towards a more normalised pattern” after the disruption of the pandemic.