Brussels airport exceeds 500,000 tons flown cargo

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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On December 7, Brussels airport passed the milestone of 500,000 tons of flown cargo: a first since DHL Express moved its European hub from Brussels to Leipzig.

Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels airport, called the achievement “a symbolic milestone for us and our cargo community”, despite said not being an all-time high.

Since 2008, the airport’s cargo volumes dropped to under 500,000 tons of cargo, coming in at closer to the 400,000 mark in 2013; however, the last four years have seen an overall growth of over 25% in flown volumes.

The main driver for the overall year-to-date growth of 9.5% has been the bellyhold capacity of passenger aircraft, which alone grew with 13%. This growth factor was followed by integrator traffic, at +9.9%, and traditional full freighter uplift, at +6,6%.

Exports out of Brussels increased considerably in 2017, with the biggest increase noted in lanes to South America and Asia.

Next to the 500,000 tons of flown cargo, the BRUcargo area also handled more than 140,000 tons of local cargo being trucked to or from other European hubs. This brings the BRUcargo volume forecast for 2017 close to 700,000 tons of air cargo.

With the launch of several new airline operations at the start of the 2017 winter schedule, such as Hainan to Shanghai or a second daily Emirates flight to Dubai, Brussels airport expects to see solid growth figures next year, too. In addition, the airport will be welcoming new customers such as Cathay Pacific and Amerijet.

To facilitate this growth, the airport is finalising a major expansion plan for the cargo area, including a new warehouse, additional apron space and the introduction of a third handling agent. The tender process is ongoing and the outcome is expected to be formally announced in the first quarter of next year.

Other projects planned for next year to facilitate cargo handling and increase efficiency are the slot booking system for all truck movements at the cargo zone and the pooling of airside handling equipment.


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