Liege shrinks, but has big plans
Belgium’s Liege Airport saw its cargo volumes decrease by 14.5 percent to 576,664 tonnes in 2012. Blaming weak European markets, the airport said it had handled fewer charter flights during the year, with a significant reduction in activity by Southern Air.
This was partly offset by a number of new cargo operators calling at Liege. Turkey’s ACT My Cargo launched five flights per week to Istanbul in September. Niger Air Cargo is developing a scheduled service to Niamey, while Avient is flying direct to Brazzaville and has introduced a regular schedule to Yerevan in Armenia and the Caspian region.
Emirates Skycargo is now stopping in Liege three times a week en route from Dubai to New York JFK, while Israel’s CAL Cargo Airlines and TNT have both increased their frequencies to JFK.
Ethiopian Airlines, meanwhile, has upgraded its freighter fleet with two B777Fs which operate daily to Liege.
The airport continues to develop its infrastructure. “It is our firm intention to remain Belgium’s biggest airfreight hub, the eighth largest cargo airport in Europe, and the second in terms of a full 24/7 operation,” says cargo sales manager Eric Gysen.
“We believe that the economic climate for our partners and for Liege Airport itself will improve in 2013 thanks to our mutual focus on cost-cutting and time-savings, and investment in diversifying our activities and services,” he adds.
A new 6,500-square-meter business center opened on Liege Airport Business Park in October and all office space has been taken up, a year ahead of the initial schedule.
A further 2,000-square-meter office building, designed mainly for logistics businesses, will open in the north cargo zone in April as part of a €10 million ($13.52 million) investment which also includes a new freight handling area and border inspection post.
Some 100,000 square meters of space is available to build warehouses with airside access. Second-line development is also under way, and in the medium term, front-line and second-line space is set to triple to 600,000 square meters.
The ultimate development plan for Liege extends much wider, with around 350 ha (865 acres) of economic zones under consideration. The airport will offer a multimodal connection by linking direct to the planned high-speed Freight TGV rail line from Paris to Brussels and Cologne.