Luxair lost money in 2021 despite dividend, loan
Luxembourg's passenger airline continued losing money last year, it said on Friday, despite a dividend payment from cargo airline Cargolux and a big loan from the two banks that have been long-time Luxair shareholders.
State-owned Luxair lost €2.3 million in 2021, still a major improvement over a €155 million loss during 2020, when the pandemic and resulting lockdowns kept travellers home and planes grounded.
The 2021 loss came despite a €30 million dividend payment last year from Cargolux, of which Luxair owns 35%. Luxair's operating losses last year were nearly €34 million, the company said.
"The dividend received by Luxair from Cargolux in 2021 made it possible to settle the operating loss of the airline," a spokesman told Luxembourg Times last month.
Luxair officials have stayed closed-mouth about their uses for another source of cash outside their operations – a €35 million loan in February 2021 from its shareholder banks BIL and BCEE, visible in the airline's annual accounts.
The state savings bank, Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat, also known as Spuerkeess, owns 22% of Luxair. Banque Internationale à Luxembourg owns 13% of Luxair, though it said last month that BIL wants to sell the stake.
Cargolux has had two successive years of record profits in 2020 and 2021. Luxair CEO Gilles Feith has said the passenger airline anticipates receiving another substantial dividend from Cargolux this year, which should show up when 2022 results are posted next year. Indeed, Cargolux's board last month approved a “significant” dividend to its shareholders, Chief Executive Officer Richard Forson said, with the amount to be made public later.