Cargolux Airlines International S.A. has accepted its final Boeing 747-400 freighter, LX-YCV - ‘City of Contern’, at a ceremony in Seattle. The aircraft arrives in Luxembourg early next week. It is the sixteenth 400F that Cargolux has bought new from Boeing. Like the fifteen aircraft before, the new addition to the fleet has left Seattle with a full load of cargo, thereby maximizing its utilization and potential.
For the occasion, Cargolux has invited a number of guests to Seattle, including representatives of the commune of Contern, after which the aircraft is named, and of the Luxembourg media. At the delivery ceremony in Seattle, Cargolux praised the versatility and effectiveness of its long-time workhorse and noted that this aircraft type was instrumental in the growth and profitability of the company over the last 15 years.
LX-YCV comes with a modified one-off livery, with the traditional red and white stripes fading away instead of reaching all the way to the tail. This hints at a new and revamped design that will be introduced on the B747-8F.
In 1993, Cargolux pioneered the introduction of the B747-400F when it became the first operator of the type worldwide. At that time, its decision to acquire this brand-new, purpose-built freighter had been widely questioned throughout the industry, but many of those who voiced their concern soon rushed to acquire their own fleets of 400 freighters.
“Up until Boeing developed the B747-8F, the B747-400F was the most economical freighter for long range markets”, explains Ulrich Ogiermann, Cargolux’s President and CEO. “It allowed us to eliminate technical stops on many routes, thus improving the flow of goods and services upon which our customers rely. The B747-400F is also the most fuel-efficient long-range freighter aircraft. This has always been a key asset for Cargolux, allowing strong increases in the productivity and cost-effectiveness of our operation, at the same time providing the most environment-friendly transport of goods.”
The freight-specific design of the B747-400F offered great flexibility to adapt to shippers‘ demand: its capacity to sub-divide into four independent temperature zones makes it a particularly efficient transporter of live animals as well as perishable goods. At the same time, thanks to its nose cargo door, it is equally well suited for transporting large, bulky or heavy equipment to anywhere in the world.
The first five of Cargolux’s B747-400Fs are powered by General Electric engines, while the remainder of the fleet is equipped with Rolls Royce RB211-524H-Ts. From 2009 on, Cargolux will receive 13 new B747-8 freighters that will gradually replace the -400F fleet. The new and improved -8F will be powered by General Electric’s new GEnx engines that are again more fuel efficient and show remarkable improvements in noise, engine and CO2 emissions.
At a time, when fuel costs make up over 40% of Cargolux’s cost base, the decision to again invest in the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft available makes perfect sense, just as it did in 1993. Only this time, there are no critical voices to be heard.