Cargolux ‘flying blind’ amid acute pilots shortage

ALTHOUGH European all-cargo airline Cargolux ended last year making a derisory profit of somewhere less than US10m, sources say the Luxembourg all-cargo carrier – which is allegedly suffering from an acute pilots shortage – appears to be nowhere nearer to devising a stratagem for its future survival, exclusively reveals.

An internal strategy meeting held in mid-January this year, which was aimed at drawing up a plan of action for the airline over the next three to four yearsappears to have been a fruitless exercise, and it is not known whether any further meetings have taken place since, writes Thelma Etim.

“Nobody appears to know what’s coming next,” observes the source. “You cannot help wonder what is actually going on with the management.”

Pilots shortage ‘becoming rather alarming’

One major factor that needs urgent discussion is that Cargolux appears to be still failing to recruit the numbers of pilots it currently desperately needs – and its existing flight-deck staff are becoming increasingly concerned about this ongoing pilots shortage.

“It is becoming rather alarming,” an insider asserts. “The [existing] pilots are extremely tired because we are so understaffed,” explains another. February was a low freight month, but the addition of just a few extra charter and ACMI flights made working conditions “rather tight,” he stresses.

“It’s as if the management is ‘flying blind’. They do not take staff complaints seriously. They just don’t want to hear the truth that they are operating flight rosters to the maximum – just within the margins.”

Postponed Cargolux China in need of investors has learned that some potential first officers – scheduled to undertake the airline’s training ahead of being employed – simply failed to turn up for the course. “The new terms and conditions are just not attractive. It was never a problem in the past for Cargolux to hire pilots,” one source reflects.

Away from staffing issues, Cargolux China, the parent company’s new Chinese joint venture, could not be further from getting off the ground.

The new airline’s launch has already been postponed several times, the latest rescheduling is for some time next year and, whilst it remains in dire need of between US$50m and $70m in added investments, there appear to be no new investors for the project.

Who or what is prepared to take on such a risk?


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