Three months after Volga-Dnepr Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a new cargo hub at Liège Airport (LGG), the group’s Russian subsidiary, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), signed a 10-year lease at LGG to increase air cargo volumes to and from the airport and foster greater cooperation between the two parties.
The airport said the MOU will create numerous jobs in the air cargo sector, as LGG develops a more robust cargo infrastructure, which is expected to placing it among the top five cargo airports in Europe, with a capacity of more than 1 million metric tonnes of air cargo by 2020.
The relationship began last year by a need to find room in the increasingly crowded European airport market. “We welcomed the first flights in October 2017 because AirBridgeCargo had to reduce its presence in Amsterdam,” said Luc Partoune, CEO of Liège Airport. “Then we responded to their call for tenders launched earlier this year for the creation of their European hub… AirBridgeCargo sees opportunities for expansion, can count on a quality workforce and rely on efficient Belgian customs.”
Under the MOU, ABC will invest €25 million to lease 25,000 square meters of warehouse space at LGG, plus another 2,000 square meters of office space. The first phase of the project will be launched in June 2019, the carrier said, when ABC is scheduled to open its first 12,500 square meters of warehouse space, followed by a second phase in early 2020, when the rest of the warehouse space will become available. Meanwhile, the Walloon Airports Co., operator of LGG, will build four new aircraft stands to accommodate AirBridgeCargo’s expanding fleet.
Sergey Lazarev, general director of AirBridgeCargo, said the carrier intends to increase the number of weekly flights to LGG by as much as 30 within the next year and a half. “AirBridgeCargo will be able to leverage growing market demand for special cargoes, especially e-commerce shipments,” he added. “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.”