Cargolux looking to open up new African markets by the end of the year

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Cargolux Airlines landing at Ashgabat

Cargolux Airlines International is looking at opening up two new markets in Africa by the end of the year, regional director for Africa Jonathan Clark (pictured below) tells Air Cargo Week.

They will probably be perishable markets and though Clark cannot say where they are, Cargolux has its eyes on two potential ones in East Africa and one in the West, and will hopefully have opened two new markets by the end of the year.

Cargolux’s three main markets out of Africa remain Nairobi, Accra and Cairo. It operates seven flights a week from Nairobi, five going to London Stansted Airport and two to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, with one Stansted flight stopping in Amsterdam as well, primarily covering the flower market but fruit and vegetables are also very important.

Cargolux operates one flight a week from Accra going to Luxembourg primarily for one customer, with 60-70 tonnes of produce going into the German market.

It also does one flight a week from Egypt with perishables proving strong from February to July.

He says Cargolux works closely with freight forwarders, explaining: “In Kenya the forwarders who bring the business to the airport one or two hours before departure, their premises are very close to the airport and can keep the produce in their refrigerators and as soon as the flight lands then they can start to move the cargo to the aircraft.”

Cargolux wants to open up into new markets and Clark says it needs to diversify, saying: “We have to look for areas we haven’t been before and it really depends on quite a few things. There are some areas we really want to go into but our hands are tied because of government regulations or we can’t get traffic rights.”

He uses Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as an example, calling it “a very closed network”, adding, “For us it’s very difficult to get any traffic rights”.

He also believes the development is in the hands of the governments to encourage companies to their country by making it easy to do business.

Clark adds: “There are also a lot of currency issues in some countries like Angola and Egypt where there is not enough foreign currency so it is difficult for us to collect the fees in the local currency and convert it, and most airlines find this.”

He says this raises the question of whether Africa is of interest if they struggle to get the money into their bank account but Cargolux is strong in Africa with 12 destinations.

Clark says: “We want to cement our business in Africa and we want to open up new opportunities. As long as the Kenyan market continues to perform then we’ve got loads that can go Northbound as well that can support imports.”