Last Monday Liege Airport has welcomed its first flight form AirBridgeCargo Airlines. The company will connect LGG with three origins/destinations in the U.S., supplemented by feeder flights to and from Shermetyevo.
ABC is one of the companies affected by the slot scarcity at AMS, which has led to its losing most of its historic slots for the coming winter season. This is the background for their decision to
move freighter flights to other locations. The Moscow-based company will connect LGG with Atlanta (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).
According to Bert Selis, Cargo Development Manager at LGG, ABC will gradually incease its capacity to 12 flights a week. This is confirmed in a release sent out by ABC today (10 Oct.). The service will also involve feeder flights from and to Moscow (SVO).
LGG was an obvious alternative to AMS as pointed out Sergey Lazarev, General Director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines. “We have a long history of cooperation with Liege Airport via Atran Airlines (part of the Volga-Dnepr Group) and now are targeting to bring our partnership to a new level. With significant improvement of our inland options and building of mutually-beneficial collaboration with our trucking partners, we are optimistic about ABC’s future in Liege and the benefits it will bring to our customers.”
In a press release, ABC praises LGG as being an “excellent example of a cargo-friendly airport in every aspect of its daily operations, which give carriers speed, flexibility, ground and airport infrastructure on a price-wise basis – things of paramount importance for final decision-making and for customers.” The text further reads: “Being situated at the heart of the Paris - Amsterdam – Frankfurt golden triangle, the city attracts freight volumes ‘like a magnet’, accumulating general cargo as well as special shipments.”
VP Commercial Steven Verhasselt of LGG told CargoForwarder Global that ABC had stood on his airport's list of potential customers for quite some time. But apart from the attractive conditions LGG offers airlines, it finally were external factors - Amsterdam's slot problems - which made ABC taking this step.
Steven points out that the Moscow-based all-cargo airline has expressed its interest in a long-time commitment at LGG.
"They wanted to start very quickly and on a very large scale, but we have been able to convince them that the better option is a gradual approach, operating 3 weekly flights and going from there up to 5 and eventually 12."
Slot scarcity at AMS
Handling at Liege will be performed by local service provider LACHS. “It is our pleasure to welcome AirBridgeCargo to our airport with services 100% adapted to the needs of the European cargo market,” stated Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport. “Our Liege air cargo community embraces supply chain stakeholders - carriers, handling providers, trucking companies, etc – and offers a pool of experience for all the parties involved. We foresee ABC growth and are ready to contribute to its smooth operations,” the manager told CargoForwarder Global.
ABC is severely affected by the slot scarcity at AMS. This results in the fact that the freight carrier is unable to maintain all of its frequencies. Andrey Andreev, Sales Director Europe for ABC, has told CargoForwarder Global that the move does not jeopardize the 3 weekly flights to and from Frankfurt-Hahn.
With the introduction of Liege, AirBridgeCargo will bring the total number of its European destinations to 13. The company says that it will pave the way towards close cooperation with cargo-friendly airports, introducing more points into its network in order to guarantee that its customers receive best-in-class service for their shipments.
Not a smart move!
Does this move to Liege and the recent transfer of flights to Hahn-Airport mean that AMS will lose ABC’s business altogether in the future? Surely the cost factor of running two operations (AMS & LGG) close to each other will be something which the ABC managers will look closely at. CargoForwarder Global recently reported on the AMS slot situation whereby freighter carriers seem to have lost out to the Low Cost Carriers (LCC) due to the fact that the airport has basically run out of slots and has decided to give low paying passenger services the advantage over freighter services which have been loyal to the airport for many years.
Not a clever move!
Marcel Schoeters / John Mc Donagh
UPDATED: SIA Cargo moves from AMS to BRU in spite of noise regulation
Singapore Airlines Cargo will move its cargo activities from Amsterdam to Brussels Airport. This would bring three to four additional flights to BRU.
The move is remarkable as SIA Cargo is among the companies that have been the victims of the fines imposed by the Brussels Regional government due to the violation of the noise regulation. For some time, the company has been named as one of the carriers considering to leave BRU due to these obstacles. According to the Flemish financial daily De Tijd, BRU is also hoping for another smaller AMS-based cargo operator to move over.