ASL Airlines launches first freighter flight to Europe from Urumqi

This morning at around 4:20 am, a 747-400F operated by ASL Airlines Belgium touched down at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport (URC). Two hours later, the widebody freighter took-off and headed back to Liège Airport (LGG), marking the commencement of the first all-cargo flight to Europe from the city in Western China.

For the Belgian airport, the flight represents the latest in a series of new links to China. In April, the carrier began piloting flights between Jinan Yaoqing International Airport (TNA) and LGG organized by Qingdao Haigu International Logistics Co. After six successful flights, twice-weekly flights were regularized on May 8. In the future, a third weekly frequency may be added. More recently in July, Wuhan-based Uni-Top Airlines began serving LGG with three weekly flights from its main hub at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), operated by Moldova-based Aerotrans Cargo.

Although each of the newly launched flights carries a mix of commodities, cross-border e-commerce is a driver of cargo flows in both directions. E-commerce industry news publication cifnews touts Liège’s Logistics Park as a magnet for the parcel-carrying flights.

Large e-tailers are taking note of Liège as well. In May, Alibaba’s smart logistics platform, Cainiao Network, chose LGG as one of its key European hubs, as it moves forward with plans to make cross-border e-commerce deliveries faster and more efficient. Further details on Alibaba’s plans in Liège are expected later this year.

Learn more about cross-border e-commerce on 10-12 October at Cargo Facts Symposium, where Steven Verhasselt, VP commercial, Liege Airport, will speak on a roundtable panel discussion dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com. Discounted early bird registration ends today.

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