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Cargolux Goes Retro With Latest Boeing 747 Livery

A Cargolux 747 Taking Off. By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada (Cargolux) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Another retrojet is joining the ranks, but this one will be one of the harder ones to fly on. Cargo carrier Cargolux Airlines International announced it has created its own retrojet in commemoration of the airline’s 50th anniversary in May. The Boeing 747-400F(ER) that has been painted in retro colors will bear the colors of the original paint scheme of the airline.

The airline began operations using the Canadair CL-44, which would bear the livery that would transition to the retrojet seen today. These models would eventually give way as the Douglas DC-8 and Boeing 747 would eventually replace the propeller aircraft.

The airline has evolved into quite the European cargo force. Cargolux operates 30 Boeing 747s between its Luxembourg and Italia arms and operates flights to 90 destinations across the globe. The cargo carrier produced a revenue of $2,259 million in 2019 with net profit turning out $20 million. The airline ranks number seven on the IATA’s top international scheduled cargo carriers with 8.0 billion freight tonne kilometers moved in 2019.

For ship LX-NCL, the aircraft joins the fleet in retro colors after years of operating for other airlines. The Boeing 747-4EVF(ER) was originally delivered to Chinese carrier Jade Cargo International in 2006 where it would work until the carrier’s collapse in 2012. Falling into the hands of Amentum Capital of Ireland, the aircraft would be left in Victorville for two years before being taken up by Volga-Dnepr in 2014. Under the Russian brand, the Boeing aircraft would operate for Russian arm AirBridgeCargo and Cargologicair of the United Kingdom.

The last day at Cargologicair was December 30, 2019 as it began the new year transitioning to Cargolux in February. Cargolux has named the aircraft the ‘City of Ettelbruck,’ a community home to just under 9,000 people in the central part of its home country.

For Cargolux, the integration of the 50th-anniversary livery is its third special livery in the fleet. The airline previously created two special liveries starting in 2015 with LX-VCM, a Boeing 747-8F which is called ‘Cutaway’ and features images of some of Cargolux’s cargo hauls over the years. The Luxembourg-based airline followed that up with a Sea Life Trust special livery in early 2019 utilizing a Boeing 747-400F for that livery. The airline also has a special sticker to commemorate their 50 years of operation which already been applied to a Boeing 747-8F but the aircraft wears the normal Cargolux colors.

The aircraft was painted at the International Aerospace Coating of Ireland and was flown to Luxembourg to begin operations for the airline. The airline had also planned further events to celebrate the half-century of service, but those events have been delayed or canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.

Ian McMurtry


  • Ian McMurtry

    Although Ian McMurtry was never originally an avgeek, he did enjoy watching US Airways aircraft across western Pennsylvania in the early 2000s. He lived along the Pennsylvania Railroad and took a liking to trains but a change of scenery in the mid-2000s saw him shift more of an interest into aviation. He would eventually express this passion by taking flying lessons in mid-Missouri and joining AirlineGeeks in 2013. Now living in Wichita, Kansas, Ian is in college majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in business administration at Wichita State University.

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