Cargolux Airlines International S.A., trading as Cargolux, is a cargo airline with its head office on the grounds of Luxembourg – Findel Airport in Sandweiler, Luxembourg. It is one of the largest scheduled all-cargo airlines in Europe with a global network. Charter flights and third party maintenance are also operated. Its main base is Luxembourg - Findel Airport.
The airline was established in March 1970 by Luxair, the Salen Shipping Group, Loftleidir Icelandic and various private interests in Luxembourg. It started operations in May 1970 with one Canadair CL-44 freighter with services from Luxembourg to Hong Kong. Over the next two years, the airline grew, as did its public visibility.
By 1973, Cargolux had five Canadair CL-44s and made the leap into the jet age by acquiring a Douglas DC-8 jet. This enabled the company to speed up its cargo deliveries. In 1974, Loftleidir Icelandic and Cargolux amalgamated their maintenance and engineering departments, and by 1975, Cargolux enjoyed the new facilities of new central offices and two plane hangars.
In 1978, the airline began to take shape into the company it is today. The Canadair CL-44s began to be retired and the airline ordered its first Boeing 747s. In that same year they also began flying to other places in Asia, as well as to the United States. In 1979, as the company concluded its first decade, its first Boeing 747s were delivered.
In 1982, China Airlines became the first airline company to sign a strategic alliance with Cargolux. 1983 saw the introduction of CHAMP (Cargo Handling And Management Planning) and the start of some charter passenger flights for the Hajj pilgrimage.
1984 saw the departure of the last Douglas DC-8 in the fleet and the addition of a third Boeing 747. Lufthansa bought a 24.5% share of the airline in 1987 and Luxair increased its share to 24.53%.
1988 saw the birth of Lion Air, a passenger charter airline established by both Cargolux and Luxair. The airline had two Boeing 747 jets but Cargolux's venture into the charter airline world proved unsuccessful and soon Lion Air folded.
Despite that setback, Cargolux made it into the 1990s in proper financial shape. It added two more Boeing 747s in 1990, as a way of celebrating its 20th anniversary, and in 1993, three Boeing 747-400Fs arrived at Luxembourg. 1995 saw Cargolux have a year-long celebration because of its 25th anniversary and Heiner Wilkens was named CEO and President.
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