Trade Centre Global Investments BV (TCGI), headquartered at Amsterdam Schiphol and owner of a worldwide general sales agent’s network, has been awarded a ten-year contract to operate Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA). Its owner, the Dutch Province of Limburg based its decision on the convincing concepts presented by TCGI to further expand air freight and passenger services at Limburg’s airport.
The eventful history of Maastricht Aachen Airport (abbreviated MAA by Limburg Province, not to be confused with Indian Chennai/Madras Airport - IATA code MAA) with adds another facet with
Limburg’s decision to hand over all operations at MAA, located in the border-triangle of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium to bidder TCGI. It is a unique decision, with regard to the European
aviation landscape because never before has a company, whose main biz consists of cargo sales activities, been awarded a contract for running an entire airport. “TCGI was selected as the best
candidate after a tendering process involving three bidders,” according to the press release issued by Limburg Province. Limburg further contends that TCGI is no newcomer to the aviation
industry, active for over 20 years. A second reason for deciding in favor of the firm was the fact that the gsa’s daughter Global Airlines Services of which gsa Mondial Airline Services is part
of, represents two of three freight carriers flying to MAA (Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian).
MST will become TCGI’s operational center
Limburg points out that TCGI has offices all round the world and represents an international network of nearly 85 airlines. Their marketing concept "will enable MAA to increase its transport volumes both in passengers and air freight tonnage," states the airport proprietor (Limburg).
“By taking over MAA’s operation we establish our own home base in Europe and centralize our business,” CargoForwarder Global was told by the Managing Director of TCGI, Ismail Durmaz. The executive also announced establishing a new limited liability company at MAA responsible for running all cargo and passenger activities together with managing the parking lots. This accounts for up to 60 percent of all MAA’s tasks. Therefore, the airport will be split into two commercially separate units – operations and infrastructure. The owner (Limburg) remains responsible for the latter with TCGI paying a yearly utilization fee that is subject to further negotiations, Durmaz confirms.
Roughly 80 percent of MAA’s revenues stem from cargo
From a cargo perspective, the bearer of great hope is Ethiopian Cargo which has been operating eight weekly flights to MAA since last November, deploying Boeing 777 freighters, which are capable of uplifting 100 tons. That’s only the beginning, states Aytekin Saray, Managing Director Germany of Mondial Airline Services which is part of the TCGI empire. “Talks are under way with some of the big guys to convince them to utilize MAA.”
According to Limburg’s announcement, TCGI’s concession runs until 2026 with an option to extend. A provisional contract has been awarded in the meantime, which will be finalised next March. If all goes according to plan TCGI can take over operations at MAA sometime in summer, with both sides assuring jobs being retained or even expanded.
Positive impact on Limburg’s economy
The provincial government sees MAA as an integral part of the basic infrastructure and the economic development of the region despite the large debts accumulated over the years. Mainly due to permanent losses, Limburg Province took over MAA from UK private investor Omniport to secure the airport’s future following the threat of bankruptcy. A tender to attract a new operator was launched last fall after the province injected considerable funds in the airport to keep the place in shape.
The province has many internationally focussed companies and hosts major international events. “The airport’s reputation and image have a positive impact on the dynamics of Limburg’s business community. Moreover our airport is a unique regional hub, combining air freight, passenger services, maintenance firms and a training facility for aircraft mechanics,” says Limburg’s executive council Twan Beurskens.
Mr. Durmaz added, that his company is not taking over any accumulated debt but starts financially from scratch.
Roughly 80,000 tons of cargo was handled at Maastricht Aachen Airport last year.
Heiner Siegmund / Michael Taweel