On December 7th, for the first time since DHL Express moved their European Hub from Brussels to Leipzig, Brussels Airport passed the milestone of 500.000 tons of flown cargo. “Although not an all-time high, this is a symbolic mile stone for us and our cargo community”, says 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 4 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 year to date growth of 9,5% comes from the cargo in the bellies of the passenger aircraft. This segment grew with 13%, followed by integrator traffic (+9,9%) and traditional full freighter uplift (+6,6%). Especially exports out of Brussel increased considerably in 2017, fuelled by strong economic performance in Belgium and Europe. Biggest increase was noted on lanes to South America and Asia.
Next to the 500.000 ton 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. For next year the airport is expecting again solid growth figures. 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 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 mid Q1 of next year. Other projects next year to facilitate cargo handling and increase the efficiency are the slot booking system for all truck movements at the cargo zone and the pooling of airside handling equipment.