Liege Airport and AirBridgeCargo Airlines have signed a lease agreement for 10 years which will see the airline set up its European hub at the airport and in turn boost volumes through Liege.
The deal will bring the scale of cooperation between two companies to the next level of development, boosting air cargo volumes of ABC to/from the airport and look to place Liege Airport among the top five cargo airports in Europe by 2020.
The agreement comes as a logical extension of Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed between Liege Airport and ABC parent company Volga-Dnepr Group earlier this year at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018 in July.
This will contribute to the development of the regional economy in general, creating numerous jobs and growing the air cargo sector, and the airport development in particular, heating up cargo infrastructure and freight flows to/from the airport.
Under the new agreement ABC will lease warehouse premises for the total area of 25,000 square metres for effective and seamless cargo operations in the airport. The investment amounts to €25 million and includes 2,000 square metres of office space to guarantee smooth daily flight management.
The project will be divided into two phases, with the first one to be launched in June 2019 when ABC will have its first 12,500 square metre warehouse.
The second phase will commence in early 2020 with the rest of warehouse premises to follow. At the same time, the Walloon Airports Company (Société Wallonne des Aéroports – SOWAER) is building four new aircraft stands to accommodate growing AirBridgeCargo fleet.
Liege Airport chief executive officer, Luc Partoune said the deal takes the airport into a new dimension: “We welcomed the first flights in October 2017 because AirBridgeCargo had to reduce its presence in Amsterdam. Then we responded to their call for tenders launched earlier this year for the creation of their European hub. They liked the cargo DNA of Liege Airport.
“We had strong political support at both the federal and regional levels. AirBridgeCargo sees opportunities for expansion, can count on a quality workforce and rely on efficient Belgian customs. Thanks to AirBridgeCargo, we plan to reach one million metric tonnes by 2020 and become one of the top 5 cargo airports in Europe.”
ABC general director, Sergey Lazarev said the agreement provides extensive advantages for customers.
“It’s been a year since we have been operating to Liege and we are delighted to see that our partnership is reaching a new height. This step is another milestone which goes in line with the development of strategic cooperation between Liege airport and Volga-Dnepr Group, which signed MoU during FIA2018,” he said.
He added: “With the lease of dedicated warehouse facilities for the next 10 years and ABC’s intention to increase the number of weekly flights to Liege up to 30 within the next 1.5 years, AirBridgeCargo will be able to leverage growing market demand for special cargoes, especially e-commerce shipments.
“An agreement of this size comes with a number of benefits not only for ABC but also for our customers, who will get more frequency options and high level of service quality.”