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LUXEMBOURG, GD: Despite the "speed bump" of shareholder and executive musical chairs in the past 12 months, Cargolux has defied the pundits and reported a net profit of US$8.4 million for 2013 rather than a budgeted loss of US$27.1 million following a loss of US$35.1 million in 2012.

Revenues rose 14.4 percent to US$1.98 billion from US$1.74 billion in the previous year as the airline increased tonnage carried by 16.7 percent to nearly 754,000 tonnes.

Dirk Reich CEO CVCommenting in the company's annual report, newly-arrived CEO Dirk Reich said: "November 2013...notably turned out to be another milestone in our history with 74,000 tonnes of freight carried on our network and revenues in excess of US$200 million."

The airline added 12 new destinations to its network last year with 747-8 services to Xiamen, China; Latacunga, Ecuador; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Hanoi, Vietnam; Vira-copos, Brazil and Vienna, Austria. By the end of the year the 747-8 fleet totaled nine aircraft with two more arriving in both 2014 and 2015. The last unit is scheduled to arrive in 2017.

Reich said trading conditions for freighter operators, "will remain challenging, but we expect 2014 to be a better year for the airfreight business owing to the recent cyclical economic upturn that has gained momentum. Demand for air cargo, which has essentially been flat for three years, has staged a modest recovery," he noted.

With a commitment of US$275 million in new cash between February 2013 and April 2014, shareholder equity last year increased 8.9 percent to US$486.9 million from US$430.7 million while net assets rose 14.7 percent to US$2.55 billion from US$2.22 billion.

The company says the reduced operating costs of the 747-8 fleet coupled with a "slight" growth in yields and demand is expected to produce another "positive result" this year.

"As a long-time admirer of Cargolux, I have closely followed the airline's developments for many years," said Reich. "The company's many achievements in its 44-year history were a source of satisfaction in spite of the occasional speed bump that may have slowed, but not derailed, the growth path of this proud company."

Reich has pledged to continue building on this tradition to make Cargolux "a truly sustainable global airfreight carrier; indeed one that has the ability to offer its shareholders and other stakeholders real, long-term rewards." Paying tribute to the support and hard work of the company's employees in last year's "challenging environment", he said the airline's turnaround would not have happened without them.

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