Volga-Dnepr, CLA bolster presence at Liège

An ABC plane taxiing at Liège Airport

Today, Volga-Dnepr Group and U.K.-based subsidiary CargoLogicAir signed a memorandum of understanding with Liège Airport (LGG) to bolster their presence in Europe by developing a regional cargo hub at Liège. The deal will also mean Liège Airport will provide the carriers with ground handling, warehousing and office areas at the hub.

This follows yesterday’s announcement in which the Russia-based airline conglomerate publicized its intent to purchase 34 Boeing freighters at the Farnborough International Airshow.

“The development of a European hub in Liège will support our existing network, boost our cargo services, covering major catchment areas of Europe for the convenience of our customers,” said David Kerr, CEO of CargoLogicAir.

Volga-Dnepr says its airlines will eventually operate up to 30 cargo flights per week at the airport, while the airport will provide the carriers with ground handling, 23,000 square meters of warehousing, and 4,000 square meters of office area. In all, the new hub will increase its LGG’s cargo capacity by 300,000 tonnes.

The stated aim of the cooperation will be to “strengthen communication and negotiation, discuss and finalize the cooperation details, work out specific programs.” It will be fully implemented in the next three to five years.

Liège Airport has pivoted noticeably toward cargo carriers recently – even displaying “#freightersfirst” on its Twitter page – taking advantage of the slot scarcity issue at nearby Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) that began to emerge in 2017, when AMS implemented a requirement for airlines to use 80 percent of their slots – a challenge for freighter operators that often must change their schedules last-minute to accommodate customer needs.

Volga-Dnepr had its own conflict with AMS during this time, in which the airport reduced its slot allocation to the conglomerate’s subsidiary carrier AirBridgeCargo from 23 to 13, resulting in a threat from Moscow to close Russian airspace to Dutch planes if AMS refused to reverse the change.

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