AirBridgeCargo will gradually increase its cargo capacity at LGG to 12 flights per week from this month, following freighter slot cuts and uncertainty at AMS.
AirBridgeCargo Airlines has responded to impending freighter slot cuts at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) by moving up to 12 weekly B747 freighter flights to nearby cargo-specialist airport Liege in Belgium.
As reported previously in Lloyd’s Loading List, air traffic capacity constraints for the forthcoming winter season are expected to have a significant impact on freighter operations at AMS, resulting in an estimated cut of 10-20% to the current level of freighter flights after strong passenger and freight traffic growth this year caused Schiphol to breach its annual quota of 500,000 air traffic movements (ATM), a figure decided upon within the framework of a locally binding agreement signed in 2008.
Although talks are continuing this week between government and industry to minimise the effects of slot cuts on freighter operations, cargo airlines with freighter operations at Amsterdam, including Schiphol’s largest freighter airline, ABC, have during the last few weeks been the process of choosing alternative airports to serve their European customers.
Starting with its winter schedule, which begins at the end of this month, ABC said it “will gradually increase its cargo capacity up to 12 flights per week”, at Liege.
The carrier said Liege was “an excellent example of a cargo-friendly airport in every aspect of its daily operations, which give carriers speed, flexibility, ground and airport infrastructure on a price-wise basis – things of paramount importance for final decision-making and for customers. Being situated at the heart of the Paris – Amsterdam – Frankfurt golden triangle, the city attracts freight volumes ‘like a magnet’, accumulating general cargo as well as special shipments.”
Sergey Lazarev, general director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, commented: “We have a long history of cooperation with Liege airport via Atran Airlines (part of Volga-Dnepr Group) and now are targeting to bring our partnership to a new level. With significant improvement of our inland options and building of mutually-beneficial collaboration with our trucking partners, we are optimistic about ABC’s future in Liege and the benefits it will bring to our customers.”
Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport, said the airport looked forward to ABC building and expanding its activities at LGG. “We foresee ABC growth and are ready to contribute to its smooth operations. Advantageous geographical location, technical equipment and motorway accessibility make our airport an ideal cargo point. Our Liege air cargo community embraces supply chain stakeholders – carriers, handling providers, trucking companies – and offers a pool of experience for all the parties involved.”
With the introduction of Liege, AirBridgeCargo will bring the total number of its European destinations to 13, “guaranteeing comprehensive and sophisticated coverage of this multinational region”. The airline added: “AirBridgeCargo will pave the way towards close cooperation with cargo-friendly airports, introducing more points into its network in order to guarantee that its customers receive best-in-class service for their shipments.”
ABC is one of the world’s fastest growing global cargo airlines, and its expanding route network connects the largest trans-regional markets of South-East Asia, Europe, Africa and North America, covering more than 30 major cargo gateways and accommodating trade flows worldwide. All the flights are operated via ABC’s cargo hub in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport. ABC’s fleet of 18 Boeing 747 freighters is one of the youngest and most modern in the airline industry.