The Israeli carrier CAL has been an important contributor to the success of Liege Airport for over 20 years, says Navot Hirschhorn, Temperature Controlled & Special Products Manager. Through LGG CAL connects Tel Aviv to the U.S.
CAL flies its own equipment, i.e. three Boeing 747-400Fs, showing no specific livery. The aircraft provide a daily connection with Tel Aviv. Three times a week their freighters
link Liege with New York-JFK. This transatlantic service is complemented by five weekly flights on the same route operated by ASL, on which CAL shares half the capacity. Once a week CAL has its
own aircraft on the route Liege-Atlanta.
At Tel Aviv, CAL’s aircraft are mainly loaded with perishables and pharmaceuticals, produced by the Israeli company Teva, for which CAL has put its LGG warehouse at their disposal. Their freighters take a lot of fish from LGG into Tel Aviv, trucked in from Scandinavia, as well as some pharma. “We have more imports into Israel than the other way around,” says Navot.
On the leg Europe-U.S. CAL flies predominantly pharma, as well as heavy machinery, dangerous goods and live animals. On the Atlanta route, the cargo consists of car parts from Europe and heavy machinery. The New York route is of course also important for the delivery of kosher products brought in from Israel for the local Jewish community.
At LGG, the airline has invested in its own handling company LACHS, which runs its own warehouse. In Liege as well as everywhere else in the world the airline is a direct competitor to the other Israeli carrier El Al. “We estimate our share on the Israeli air cargo market at 40%,” says Navot. “El Al generates some 30 to 35 percent.” The difference is contributed by other airlines.
The aircraft too, are fully owned. The actual fleet is the result of a recent renewal. Two of the aircraft are production freighters while the third unit is a P2F converted former passenger plane.
As an Israeli carrier, CAL’s security policy is more than impressive, Navot explains. “Apart from the extremely stringent Israeli regulations, we are also compliant with the TSA and European legislation. From our experience we have learned that they are all coming together.”
Navot thinks that CAL’s share in the total LGG volume is about 15 percent. The airline, which is fully owned by the Israeli perishables exporting industry, first touched down at the Belgian airport 20 years ago. In 2010, Israeli national Offer Gilboa acquired CAL Cargo Air Lines who acts as Chairman ever since.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels