Cargo volumes at Brussels Airport have soared by 8.3 per cent in 2017 to 535,634 tonnes, the highest volume in the past 10 years.
The airport serving Belgium’s capital saw particularly strong growth in belly cargo, rising 13.8 per cent, helped by Hainan Airlines launching Boeing 787 flights to Shanghai and Emirates introducing a second daily Boeing 777 service to Dubai.
This sector is expected to continue growing with Cathay Pacific starting Airbus A350 services to Hong Kong later this year.
The full freighter segment saw lower growth of three per cent thanks to a strong first quarter and good volumes in November and December.
Brussels Airport head of cargo and logistics, Steven Polmans says: “This three per cent growth follows an increase of almost 15 per cent last year compared to 2015.
So despite some noise issues we had in Q2 resulting in a few airlines leaving the airport, we are very pleased to see that growth picked up again by the end of the year still resulting in an overall growth in this segment.”
Export volumes drove the growth with an increase of almost 16 per cent, and Polmans says: “We have seen a remarkable increase in our volumes to especially the Far East and South America, supported by a strong performance of the European and Belgian economy.”
Pharmaceuticals were also very strong, with Brussels recording an increase of 18 per cent in the transportation of flown products compared to 2016.
Integrator services were up 9.7 per cent, and DHL Express moved to a new state-of-the-art facility in August 2017, resulting in strong growth figures.
The strong growth is expected to continue into 2018, with Amerijet having already announced a direct Miami to Brussels flight, twice weekly starting in the second quarter.
Brussels says it will further strengthen its cargo team as well as making considerable investments in its cargo area, BRUcargo.
It will introduce an additional handling agent later this year after the conclusion of the ongoing tender process.