Liege Airport has a record year as tonnage hits 870,000

Liege Airport had record year for tonnage in 2018 as the Belgian gateway saw a total of 870,644 tonnes handled – a 21.5 per cent increase on the 2017 figure of 717,000 tonnes – also a record year.

The airport said in spite of the commercial tensions between the USA and China, increasing oil prices and the predicted consequences of Brexit, world freight activity saw a 4.5 per cent rise in 2018 but Liege’s figures are “exceptional”.

Liege Airport chief executive officer, Luc Partoune said: “This is a new record, because since Liege Airport was established in 1990, we have never achieved such a level of tonnage. This confirms we are on the right track with our strategy to go with full cargo companies.

“The arrival of new companies and the performance and exceptional growth achieved by all our operators have contributed to positioning us among the best cargo airports worldwide. I congratulate the entire cargo community (road hauliers, charter operators, etc.)”.

To sustain the growth of companies and handling agents, Liege Airport has accelerated its investment programme: “In 2019 and 2020, more than 30,000 sq. m. of warehousing will be made available to air cargo handlers. In the next few months, AirBridge Cargo will start using its first warehouse.

“The contract about to be signed with Cainiao (Alibaba group) is going to provide a medium-term boost for our activities and several hundred jobs will be necessary to sustain the growth in companies established at Liege Airport,” said Partoune.

The real estate sector – under the subsidiary Liege Airport Business Park – has also seen great success with a 98 per cent occupancy rate of offices and 100% of warehouses.

The call for proposals held in 2018 led the board of directors to select the ‘Valentiny consortium for its vision of the office development in front of the passenger terminal esplanade. The construction of an initial office building of approximately 7,000 square metres has been allocated to the 2019 budget at a cost of €14.6 million.

Liege also welcomed 170,961 passengers in 2018 and operated 38,814 flights to and from the airport. The expected financial net result for the year should exceed €4 million.