While the passenger terminal at Brussels Airport is currently idling while awaiting recovery, the cargo area at Brussels Airport is in full swing. Around sixty cargo flights operate every day, whether by full cargo aircraft, express services or passenger aircraft.
In this coronavirus crisis period, the demand for protective clothing, face masks and test kits has greatly increased, in addition to the demand for perishable foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products, the specialities usually handled in the cargo area at Brussels Airport. Every day, planes take off and land with medical equipment, increasing the demand for capacity. Unfortunately, with the sharp decline in passenger flights, a large part of the cargo transported by this method cannot be forwarded.
To make up for this loss of capacity, around fifteen airlines have decided to fly their passenger aircraft only with cargo, either in the hold or in the hold and cabin at the same time. Emirates, Qatar, United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines are among these. These cargo flights on board passenger aeroplanes account for almost half of the cargo flights currently using Brussels Airport.
“Brussels Airport’s cargo area is running at full capacity and is able to meet the high demand for capacity, in particular for the transporting of medical equipment such as face masks and protective clothing,” explains Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport. “This activity is essential for our economy, and it contributes to the proper functioning of our industries and businesses. As such, we would like to thank our long-standing partners, airlines, handlers and transport companies, who are redoubling their efforts at this time, as well as the new partners who have joined us recently to increase the capacity offered at Brussels Airport.”
Full-cargo airlines have recently joined us at our airport, including Amerijet, Silk Way West and Suparna. Other essentially passenger airlines, such as Vietnam Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Cargo are operating or will very soon operate from Brussels Airport, sometimes for a fixed period. So, Vietnam Airlines has transported PPE (personal protective equipment) on charter flights. Virgin Atlantic, for its part, will also be operating twice a week from June, from the United States to Brussels and then to London Heathrow. Cargo will play an important role in reviving their long-haul passenger traffic. This operation is currently scheduled to run for a few months.