Emirates Airlines is launching direct daily flights from Dubai to Brussels Airport as from 5 September. The airline is serving the European capital with a triple seven in a three-class passenger configuration, which is very cargo-friendly, says Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo with the Brussels Airport Company. He estimates that an extra 15,000 tonnes a year will be flowing directly in and out of Brussels. “This would add some 10% to our belly cargo segment.”
With the coming of Emirates the Brussels air cargo community will be able to offer almost any destination in both the Middle East and Asia, thanks to the airline’s extensive network, even if there is still a stop-over in Dubai. “This is very interesting for our pharmaceutical and digicom business,” Polmans thinks.
Saudi Arabian Cargo, another airline from the Arabian Peninsula, is the oldest and largest customer of Brussels Airport, but Polmans is convinced that the Emirates operation will have no direct impact on Saudia’s biz. “If there is to be any impact at all, it would rather be on Qatar or Etihad. On the other hand, we are very underserved on these routes. The most important thing is that a lot of cargo that is currently being trucked to and from other airports will now be flown directly from and to Brussels.”
In Dubai too, the opportunities Brussels Airport can offer as a cargo hub have not gone unnoticed. Key export commodities which Emirates expects to export from Brussels include pharmaceuticals, automotive spare parts, chocolates, machinery and equipment and electronics. Imported freight is also expected to be considerable. Emirates SkyCargo has decided to abandon its Brussels GSSA and has set up its own representation. The airline has not yet entered into an agreement with a ground handler.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels