Qatar Airways preparing for Cargolux control warns union
Qatar Airways could be preparing to make a move to take control of the Luxembourg airline, Cargolux, according to the trades union representing employees at the freight carrier.
A top level meeting is due to take place in Luxembourg tomorrow where a proposed recapitalisation plan is on the agenda.
Qatar Airways acquired a 35% stake in the cargo airline, currently 65%-owned by the Luxembourg state, in September 2011. A cash injection of €750 million, ($965m) spread over a three- to four-year period, has been mooted in the Luxembourg media.
Lloyds List quoted a spokesman for the OGBL union as saying “In our view, the Qatari investors in Cargolux will seize the opportunity to push for a majority stake in the airline, and we have written to the Luxembourg government to demand that the state keeps its controlling stake.
“We are not against recapitalisation, but we want the state to reinforce its shareholding in the company through it,” Hollerich said.
Cargolux’s interim CEO, Richard Forson, has spoken recently about relocating the cargo carrier’s aircraft maintenance activities to the Middle East as part of cost-cutting measures. This is a move that has angered the union.
“Is it a coincidence that a large hangar facility is opening in Doha later this year?” Hollerich said. “Cargolux’s aircraft maintenance employs 450 staff. There would be a massive impact on jobs.”
Forson is also said to have told the union that a number of other projects were being explored as part of a strategic review, including the outsourcing of the Flight Crew department and the re-registering of Cargolux’s aircraft in Qatar.
“While nothing has been decided on these ’options’ at this stage, it is very worrying that those at the top at Cargolux atre thinking in this direction," Hollerich told the newspaper.