Brussels Airport will welcome two additional freighter customers in the next few weeks and months with services starting in March and May.
The airport’s head of cargo, Steven Polmans, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) at the 3rd Air Cargo Africa conference and exhibition, held in Johannesburg last week.
At the end of March, Chinese carrier Yangtze River Express will operate a Boeing 747 Freighter three times a week, carrying mainly pharma and general cargo. Then from 17 May, Canada’s Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter will run a freighter four times a week from Toronto. Kelowna is the exclusive cargo carrier for Purolator Courier (see picture). Polmans tells ACW that the Yangtze cargo flights will start in Chicago before stopping in Brussels, then flying to Munich, and back to China. As for Kelowna, he says the carrier recently lost its contract with Canada Post, and was looking for an opportunity. It will use Brussels as its European gateway.
“This will be general cargo, but a big part of it will be pharma, and they will use if for their flights to Africa, while imports will be lobsters,” Polmans explains. He says Qatar Airways Cargo is also to increase the frequency of its freighter routes in March, bringing the total to 10 into Doha, up from the nine it announced in October last year.
He explains that Brussels is targeting a significant growth in volume of 20 per cent in 2015, and thinks there is no limit for volume growth in the future. “These new operations will give us growth in May of 20 to 25 per cent of cargo volumes year-on-year, and we think we [can] handle around 550,000 tonnes in 2015, up from 460,000 in 2014. We have the infrastructure to cope and grow at this rate, and beyond,” Polmans explains. Africa is a big part of this growth for Brussels, and the Belgian airport wants to further strengthen ties as in Pollman’s words there is “so much happening in the continent”, and he is discussing opportunities at Air Cargo Africa. Polmans also tells ACW that Brussels is in discussions with handling agents to extend cargo facilities, which will add around 100,000 square metres of space. He understands that the new cargo facility is being discussed with Panalpina, but he could not reveal details of other firms in talks.