From 1 November Ethiopian Cargo will move the flights it operates under an agreement with Starbroker, the in-house carrier of DHL Global Forwarding, from Brussels to Maastricht.
Compared to the summer schedule this will cost the Belgian airport 3 weekly freighter flights Brussels-Dubai-Hong Kong and 2 weekly flights from Brussels to Shanghai, says Starbroker’s VP EMEA
Peter Karreman. From 1 November ET will fly from Maastricht 6 times a week. Two flights will also stop at Dubai. A third flight will continue to Addis Ababa. Twice a week ET Cargo will fly the
route Maastricht-Shanghai. All flights will be operated by 777Fs.
The Brussels ET/Starbroker operation, which started last August, was heavily challenged by TNT Airways and its home base Liege Airport. Both claimed that the Asian destinations are not included in the bilateral agreement between Belgium and Ethiopia. Even then the flights were granted directly by the federal Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant, who by-passed the national aviation authority.
New agreement imminent?
“We asked ET for guarantees for the entire winter season, which they were unable to grant within the limits of the present agreement,” says Mr Karreman. “The African flights to Lagos, Accra and Johannesburg will stay in Brussels for the time being, even if moves may be expected in this respect too.”
Peter Karreman also stresses that the move to Maastricht not only diverts export volumes away from Brussels, but also has an impact on the imports, which have Amsterdam as their final destination. “In a few weeks time we will have the start of the perishables season in Ethiopia.”
Mr Karreman wishes to express his thanks to the efforts of both Brussels Airport and the Ministry of Transport to keep the flights in Belgium. He expects that a new round of negotiations on an extension of the air services agreement to be imminent.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels