Recruiting Qatar Airways Cargo as a customer is a major success for the Belgian Airport. As of October 1, QR Cargo intends transferring four weekly freighter flights from Liege to Brussels Zaventem. The step will be to the detriment of Liege Airport that loses an important client.
QR Cargo Helmsman Uli Ogiermann tells it straight: “We are sad to leave Liege as they have been great partners with an outstanding service to us. But we need to consolidate our freighter network
in Europe and BRU is the stronger market, preferred by our customers.”
QR Cargo pushes the perishables biz forward
Up to now, the Arabian carrier operates seven cargo flights into Liege each week, with three of them in close cooperation with TNT Airways, by deploying Triple Seven freighters on routes to Mexico City, Houston and Atlanta. The remaining four, operated with A330Fs, are conducted under QR’s own flight number. So far, these four scheduled services are routed from Nairobi or Entebbe via Doha into LGG in eastern Belgium. On board the aircraft are mainly East Africa grown cut flowers and fresh fish from the Indian Ocean, destined for the European market.
Only shortly, QR Cargo has launched premium services, offering its customers optimized transportation of temperature controlled shipments such as perishables, medicines or pharmaceuticals.
…so does BRU Cargo
A decision that matches ambitious targets set by Brussels Airport’s cargo management. They’ve also realized that pharmaceuticals and other temperature sensitive goods are outgrowing other products transported by air. That’s why BRU Cargo decided to further upgrade and standardize all handling processes to ensure their clients a premium service and grow into the role as leading hub for these special products.
By doing so, this obviously was not only honored by IATA that partnered with BRU to drive the standardization of handling processes in the perishables field further ahead, but also by Qatar Cargo because it is in line with the carrier’s own ambitions. Therefore, it appears that BRU Cargo’s focus on temperature sensitive goods attracted QR Cargo and led - among other aspects - to the decision to give up Liege as destination and operate their Airbus A330 freighters to Brussels instead.
An additional motive for the route change seems to be that the number of forwarding agents doing biz at Zaventem is much larger in comparison to Liege. This fact could be a door opener for enhancing QR Cargo’s market position in Western Europe.
Liege Airport reacts relaxed
Asked about the upcoming departure of QR Cargo and the consequences resulting from this step a spokesman from Liege Airport basically regrets this fact. “Of course we appreciate QR Cargo's decision, especially since QR Cargo confirmed to us that it had nothing to do with operational reasons, problems at Liege or whatsoever. Moreover, we remain partners because they go on operating three freighters out of Liege which need a full flexibility-airport without a curfew and without slots requirements,” states the Airport’s Cargo responsible. He goes on saying that on each single day over 300 tons of perishables and temperature sensitive goods like pharmaceuticals are passing through Liege’s gates. “This makes us still an attractive place for this kind of products too, day and night.”