The Istanbul-based freight carrier has added Liege (LGG) to its European network, operating an Airbus A330F.
LGG further informs that a 6,000 sqm freight terminal has opened its doors last weekend, adding to the existing ground handling capacity.
Last Tuesday, Feb. 13, a TK Cargo operated A330F touched down at LGG, jammed with perishables brought in from Africa. It is the first time ever, Turkish Cargo lands at Liege-Bierset, positioning
from Entebbe, Uganda and ferrying from LGG to Oslo to pick up seafood there before returning to its home base Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
The weekly TK Cargo service which can uplift 65 tons per flight, might only be the beginning of a closer future partnership between the airline and the Walloon airport, indicates LGG’s Cargo and Logistics Manager Bert Selis: “On the occasion of the inaugural flight, TK Cargo’s management has given us a very clear signal to grow their Liege traffic after an initial phase.”
Liege expects to handle 800,000 tons in 2018
Steven Verhasselt, Commercial Vice-President of LGG regards the arrival of Turkish Cargo as clear indication of his airport’s course. The manager stated: “Our strategy is very clear: priority is given to companies specializing in cargo. We transported 717,000 tons in 2017 (+8.5% y-o-y, hs), which was a record for us, and we aim to exceed 800,000 tons in 2018.” He added to this that “the Turkish market is very important and ideally located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa.”
Ilker Avci, CEO of Turkish Airlines stated on the occasion of the A330F’s inaugural Liege flight that his airline’s cargo arm is already serving more than 80 destinations and thanks to new destinations added to the network, such as Liege in Belgium, TK expects to transport up to 1,5 million tons in 2018.
Cargo enjoys priority at LGG
Touching the growth issue, LGG is well on track, seen by a 21 percent jump in tonnage last month compared to 2017 January figures. Due to an increasing number of clients such as Air China Cargo or ABC, that started serving LGG last year, and now welcomed newcomer TK Cargo, the airport management decided very early to invest both in additional parking positions for large aircraft and the upping of warehouse capacity in the northern part of the airport. While construction for four additional aircraft stands is well under way, scheduled to be completed in Q2 of 2019 (2 positions) and Q4 respectively, warehouse capacity is also expanded at the northern part of the airport which AirBridgeCargo and TK Cargo have chosen for their operations. This comprises a new 6,000 square meters freight terminal that opened its doors last weekend. Although it is still an open issue at this stage which ground handling agent will run the facility. “The tenant will be announced within the next few days, LGG manager Selis says.
A similar sized building will follow, scheduled to be operational before the end of the year.
In total, Liege is investing more than €50 million in its cargo infrastructure. A clear sign to the market, confirming that air freight comes first at the Walloon airport.