In what has got to be a sigh of relief for Brussels Airport, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo will resume operations at the airport beginning March 26, with 12 full cargo flights a week. Last November, Ethiopian moved its cargo operations from BRU to Masstricht-Aachen in the Netherlands because of the Belgian government’s delay in responding to the carrier’s request for an extension of fifth-freedom traffic rights. Ethiopian wanted the option to fly onward to Dubai World Central, Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok and Shanghai Pudong.
In recent weeks, the airport and the carrier were involved in intensive talks about Ethiopian Airlines Cargo returning to Brussels Airport after the Belgian government had inked a new bilateral agreement with Ethiopia, enabling the carrier to undertake the direct flights from Belgium to Dubai, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
“The carrier’s return is a highly positive development, not just for Brussels Airport but also for the Belgian economy as a whole,” said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport. “This move will not only see the reinstatement of the jobs that were lost with the air carrier’s withdrawal in November, it will also create many new jobs as Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is planning to more than double the number of flights a week out of Brussels Airport compared against last year.”
Arnaud said all of the flights are daytime flights. Guangzhou was already included under the previous bilateral agreement. Additionally, the amendment leaves room for Belgium to receive even more cargo flights from Ethiopian. After Ethiopian’s withdrawal last year, BRU stayed in touch with the carrier and the Belgian government, in the interest of the hundreds of employees who depended on Ethiopian Airlines Cargo for their jobs.