AirBridgeCargo Airlines’ ambitions for its new Liège Airport (LGG) hub were given a boost with the signing of an historic lease agreement for 10 years. The Russian carrier aims to grow its weekly flights to 30 per week within 1.5 years, Sergey Lazarev, general director of AirBridgeCargo says.
This arrangement will bring the scale of cooperation between two companies to the next level of development, the duo said as it will boost air cargo volumes of ABC to/from the airport and placing Liège Airport among the top five cargo airports in Europe by 2020.
“With the lease of dedicated warehouse facilities for the next 10 years and ABC’s intention to increase the number of weekly flights to Liege up to 30 within the next 1.5 years, AirBridgeCargo will be able to leverage growing market demand for special cargoes, especially e-commerce shipments,” Lazarev says. “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,” he adds.
The agreement comes as a logical extension of Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed between Liège Airport and Volga-Dnepr Group earlier this year during the Farnborough International Airshow 2018 in July. The agreement is expected to contribute to the development of the regional economy in general, creating numerous amounts of jobs and boosting the growth of air cargo sector, and the airport development in particular, fostering build-up of cargo infrastructure and freight flows to/from the airport.
Under the agreement AirBridgeCargo will lease 25,000 sqm of warehouse premises for what the two said will be “effective and seamless cargo operations in the airport”. The investment amounts to EUROS 25 million and includes 2,000 sqm of office space for flight management.
The project will be divided into two phases, with the first being launched in June 2019 when AirBridgeCargo will have its first 12,500 sqm warehouse. The second phase will commence in early-2020 with the rest of warehouse premises to follow. At the same time, the Walloon Airports Company is building four new aircraft stands to accommodate the growing AirBridgeCargo fleet.
For Luc Partoune, CEO of Liège Airport, this agreement takes the airport into a new dimension: “We welcomed the first flights in October 2017 because AirBridgeCargo had to reduce its presence in Amsterdam. Then we responded to their call for tenders launched earlier this year for the creation of their European hub.
“They liked the cargo DNA of Liège Airport,” Partoune says. “We had strong political support at both the federal and regional levels. AirBridgeCargo sees opportunities for expansion, can count on a quality workforce and rely on efficient Belgian customs. Thanks to AirBridgeCargo, we plan to reach one million metric tonnes by 2020 and become one of the top 5 cargo airports in Europe,” he adds.
Lazarev says this agreement represents numerous advantages for the customers: “It’s been a year since we have been operating to Liege and we are delighted to see that our partnership is reaching a new height. This step is another milestone which goes in line with the development of strategic cooperation between Liège Airport and Volga-Dnepr Group, which signed MoU during FIA2018. “