Economy & Politics

Luxembourg airlines are looking for a course

For the third time, this October 7, the State, unions and employers meet around the table to discuss the fate to be reserved for Luxair, Cargolux and Luxairport staff. Some 4,800 jobs in the dark about their future.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

For the third time, this October 7, the State, unions and employers meet around the table to discuss the fate to be reserved for Luxair, Cargolux and Luxairport staff. Some 4,800 jobs in the dark about their future.

It’s not an air hole, it’s a free fall. Difficult for the airline sector to take back control of its destiny without outside help. An international truth which, in the Grand Duchy, is reflected in the uncertain fate that awaits the approximately 3,000 employees of Luxair, the 1,500 of Cargolux and the 300 of lux-Airport. Not for nothing that to ensure the future of this branch of activity, the government decided upon the holding of a sectoral tripartite. A meeting in July, followed by another mid-September, and a following this Wednesday afternoon.


WI, Flughafen Luxemburg, Findel.Luxairport, Foto: Gerry Huberty / Luxemburger Wort

Luxembourg airport has become the first in Central Europe to be certified by the “ACI Health program”. The latter wanted to highlight the health and safety measures that have been put in place in the context of the health crisis.


At the European convention center, everyone is invited to come this October 7 “with viable solutions not only for 2021 but well beyond” in their luggage. The Minister of Transport had requested it at the end of the last meeting on September 17. But it is difficult to imagine that the social partners come out of the miracle flight plans from the bunkers of the discussions held in recent days. Covid is still hovering around the globe, blurring any future prospects for the airline sector, both on the freight and passenger side.

“But we’ll have to get out of it,” notes Michelle Cloos, central secretary of the OGBLM who will attend the tripartite. “We must act to stabilize not only the three main companies, secure the career paths of 4,800 employees but also see the consequences for all positions related to the activity of Findel.” When the airport (which until then generated 5% of the national GDP) has one knee on the ground, the entire economy of the country falters. “I am talking about the shops, the catering offered on site but also all that is jobs in logistics or transport.”

With representatives from the Ministries of Mobility, the Economy and Labor, the unions and the management have therefore sought out avenues that could save as many jobs as possible. “All possible measures,” comments Paul de Araujo. From the exchange of employees between each other (an aircraft mechanic can be effective as much on Luxair planes as on Cargolux large carriers) as well as transfers to other companies or the State or municipal administration. ” The use of early pre-retirement could also be one of the parachutes to deploy as quickly as possible. As much as training offers for reclassification elsewhere.

Such a distant record

One thing is certain: there is an emergency. In July and August alone, Luxair admits having lost 20 million in revenue. And even if the national company continues to add destinations to its logbook, customers are hardly in a hurry to take their tickets. Not even to mention the difficulties in resuming regular connections to London and England, which constituted a strong pillar of the activity of the Luxembourg fleet. And to think that at the beginning of the year again, 4.8 million tourists or businessmen, 4.8 million tourists or businessmen were expected this year, and that 2020 marks the 50 years of Cargolux .

Cargolux and lux-Airport cannot say that they are doing any better, and the 2019 record for frequentation of airport facilities leaves us wondering today. Four million passengers passing through the Findel, it will take years before this situation returns.


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