Vatry is Still on the Lookout for a Scheduled Carrier

Set up as an ambitious project in the early 1990s, the Aéroport Paris Vatry so far has not lived up to its expectations of handling 120,000 tonnes annually. Yet the ambition remains as strong as ever, says Yoann Maugran, responsible for cargo.

Yoann Maugran  -  picture: ms
Yoann Maugran - picture: ms

Vatry was inaugurated in 2000. The idea was to develop the former NATO air base as an air cargo platform to anticipate the future needs of the air cargo industry. In 2008-2009 Avient was one of the carriers that seized the opportunity to bring African Nile perches to the European markets.
Another was DHL Express, but due to the financial and the worldwide economic crisis it decided to cease its operation. Avient moved to Liege Airport. So, essentially, the Vatry volume is generated by charter operations, says Yoann.

From private to public ownership
Right up to 2016, the airport was run by private shareholders. Since then, it has been taken over by the Département de la Marne. “We run the entire process, the infrastructure as well as the exploitation of the airport,” says Yoann. “That means that there are no middlemen involved. This new situation has enabled us to further develop our project.”
Even if last year’s volume of 7,666 tonnes may not seem too impressive, it represents an increase of 67%. “This has not brought us a break-even, but that goes for all the regional airports in France.”
Yoann deplores the absence of an integrator, as this would enable the airport to capture part of the growing e-commerce business. “We would like to welcome another scheduled carrier to support our ambitions. We have some contacts in this respect. It would certainly offer an excellent perspective.”

Kalitta freighter at Vatry  -  courtesy Vatry Airport Company
Kalitta freighter at Vatry - courtesy Vatry Airport Company

Perishables and pharma
What Vatry can offer is simplicity, efficiency and the availability of staff, Yoann maintains. A regular carrier would revive the perishables business the airport has developed. Pharma is another item of interest. According to Yoann, the airport is considering an IATA Pharma CEIV certification, especially as GSK has a plant right across from the airport. The airport collaborates closely with the main specialised pharma logistics service providers.
To accommodate both perishables and pharma, Vatry has 4,200 m² of cooling facilities at its disposal.
As for the airport’s catchment area Yoann points out that Vatry is only a 2 hours’ drive from the greater Paris area. “We are directly connected to the motorway as well as the railway networks.”
Yoann says that 2017 has already announced itself as a very good year. “We have already surpassed last year’s tonnage.”
Vatry’s runway is 3,860 m long and the airport has an apron able to accommodate up to 10 wide-body aircraft. The cool centre mentioned above is part of a total of 12,000 m² of dedicated warehousing space. Vatry is also a certified EU point of entry.

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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