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Cargolux has filed a full-year profit of $5.5m on revenues of $1.75bn following a strong fourth quarter, in which it flew 96,000 tonnes in November alone.

However, the profit was down 88% year-on-year – its 2015 results had received a boost from lower fuel prices and the US west coast port congestion. In 2014 it made a profit of $3m.

Last year, freight tonne kilometres grew 10%, against a market average of 3.8%, while Cargolux’s market share reached 3.9%.

The airline carried 964,131 tonnes in the year, up 8% on the previous 12 months, with available tonne km up 11.3m. Load factors stood at 66.76%, while block hours rose 6.7% over 2015, at 122,575.

Its Zhengzhou hub, which had sparked some concerns in the market, became its largest in mainland China, surpassing Shanghai.

Cargolux carried more than 105,000 tonnes of freight to and from Zhenghzou last year, nearly 11% of its total tonnage and up from 66,000 tonnes in 2015. The carrier said that flights between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou were complemented by services across the Pacific to Chicago and back.

CEO Richard Forson paid tribute to a team that came together after years of union strife and disagreements with management.

“The excellent results for 2016 are testament to the strength of Cargolux and the dedication and passion of our employees who deserve special recognition for their effort and hard work, especially during the last quarter,” he said.

“They have enabled the airline to perform all flights as planned and deliver on our service quality promise towards our customers, who, in turn, continue to support us with their loyalty and trust.

“The success of Cargolux is truly a team effort and that is exactly the way it should be.”

Cargolux moved up two places to the number six position in IATA’s top 25 cargo carriers ranking for international scheduled FTKs; the highest position the airline has held.

In November, its best month, the airline achieved “near record-high daily aircraft utilisation, with 16:74 block hours per day, second only to November 2013, when Cargolux freighters flew an average of 16:85 hours per day”.

Last year the airline took delivery of its 14th 747-8F.

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