As Brussels Airport returns to normality after the Covid pandemic, the European hub finds itself balancing the growth in passenger flights versus the retention of cargo operations that boomed in the last few years.
The airport is one of the most important hubs in Europe, strategically positioned near the heart of the region. With the European and NATO institutions nearby, Brussels Airport ensures connection between Europe’s capital to the rest of world.
Both sides of the airport’s activities are important and, of course, closely linked, as passenger traffic adds availability of belly capacity for cargo. In 2022 the airport welcomed almost 19 million passengers, compared to 26.4 million passengers in 2019. Brussels Airport caters for the specific needs of business travellers and holidaymakers alike, on intra-European as well as long haul flights. In 2023, it connects Belgium directly with 200 destinations worldwide, offered by 70 airlines.
“Our airport also offers a leading cargo platform, specialised in the transport of pharmaceutical products, perishable goods, e-commerce and live animals. Brussels Airport is the preferred pharmaceutical and life sciences hub in Europe with the highest number of CEIV pharma certified companies and largest concentration of dedicated pharma infrastructure,” Geert Aerts, Chief Cargo & Real Estate Officer at Brussels Airport, said.
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Apart from its location within the heart of Europe, logistic partners and airlines chose Brussels Airport for its connectivity and the expertise it offers within these markets. The hub is leading in the digital transformation within the industry offering its community partners efficiencies, transparency and ease-of-working through its digital platform applications on BRUcloud. Furthermore, its ambitious real estate development roadmap, offering efficient, BREEAM Excellent certified net zero carbon buildings, increases the overall warehouse capacity in support of the growth of its partners alike.
Brussels Airport has seen growth in all segments of its cargo operations, as a result of its specialisation and the quality of cargo handling and continuity it is able to offer with all our partners.
“For many years already Brussels Airport has been the European gateway for life sciences and pharmaceuticals. Specifically in 2022 dedicated flights with pharmaceuticals, mainly Covid-19 vaccines, were flown worldwide to countries such as US, Japan etc. in specific. This follows the increasing growth trend in Pharma and Life sciences of previous years,” Aerts explained
“It is thanks to the internationally recognised expertise of Brussels Airport and in collaboration with its Cargo partners that the many R&D and production sites of pharmaceutical and life science companies choose Brussels Airport as their European gateway, contributing to the lifesaving operations linked to the Convid-19 pandemic,” Aerts continued.
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Brussels Airport is project leader of Stargate, a programme within the EU Green Deal, working together with a consortium of 21 partners to develop innovations and initiatives for an accelerated transition to a greener aviation by 2026.
This is focused on three main areas: a further decarbonisation, improving the quality of the local environment and promoting a modal shift. With this project, Brussels Airport wants to be a forerunner for a greener aviation and develop good practices to share with other airports.
As well as taking the lead in driving the aviation industry to become greener, the hub launched its new strategy Shift 2027 last year, focussing on further improving its hub performance for both clients and passengers. This involves our connections, operational efficiency, and customer experience with further digitisation of processes as one of the enablers.
“Our focus is to further excel in our specialisations, such as investing in infrastructure in support of the increasing importance of air cargo in new treatment solutions within life sciences. Offering our partners a best-in-class end-to-end efficiency at Brussels Airport leveraging airside innovations, such as automation and several IoT solutions, as well as expanding our leading digital platform solutions with BRUcloud,” Aerts said.