Full bellyholds helped Brussels Airport pass the 500,000 ton milestone of flown cargo on December 7, doing so for the first time since DHL Express moved its European hub from the Belgian airport to Leipzig in Germany.
“Although not an all-time high, this is a symbolic milestone for us and our cargo community”, said Steven Polmans, head of cargo and logistics at Brussels Airport.
“Since 2008, our volumes dropped under 500,000 tons of cargo and in 2013 we were even flirting with the 400,000 number. But in the last four years we have seen an overall growth of over 25% in our flown volumes.”
While growth was seen in all segments, the main driver for the 9.5% year to date growth came from passenger bellyhold cargo.
This segment grew 13%, followed by integrator traffic (+9,9%) and traditional full freighter uplift (+6,6%).
Exports out of Brussels increased considerably in 2017, fuelled by strong economic performance in Belgium and Europe. The biggest increase was noted on lanes to South America and Asia.
The BRUcargo area also handled more than 140,000 tons of local cargo trucked to or from other European hubs, bringing the forecast for 2017 close to 700,000 tons. For next year the airport is again expecting “solid growth figures”.
A BRUcargo spokesperson said: “Some airlines have started their operation only at the start of the 2017 winter schedule, such as Hainan to Shanghai or a second daily Emirates flight to Dubai.
“On top of that, we are already looking forward to new customers such as Cathay Pacific and Amerijet.”
To cope with this growth, the airport is finalising a major expansion plan for the cargo area including new warehousing, 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 2018.
Other projects next year to facilitate cargo handling and increase the efficiency include the slot booking system for all truck movements at the cargo zone and the pooling of airside handling equipment.
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