Châteauroux Airport, practically in the centre of France, has ambitions to become an e-commerce hub with a direct China link. So far, the cargo traffic at the airport has been a charter business merely.
“Châteauroux is in fact an industrial airport, focussing on cargo, training and aircraft related activities. As for training the airport addresses both pilots and airport fire workers. Our Air
Center specialises in the storage, painting, maintenance, dismantling and recycling of aircraft. Passengers are only a marginal activity,” says Martin Fraissignes, General Manager Planning &
The airport can receive all types of aircraft. Currently it’s only charter traffic, mainly to and from the Middle East. So, the main export commodities are live animals like racehorses, poultry and cows as well as industrial equipment. “These products are forwarded to us from places spread across France,” says Mr Fraissignes.
On the import side Châteauroux receives green beans and strawberries from Egypt. Châteauroux is also the arrival airport of Airbus fuselage produced in the U.S., which is then on-forwarded to the aircraft manufacturer’s French assembly plants. The parts are flown in by AN-124 aircraft.
At Air Cargo Europe in Munich Châteauroux presented itself with a flyer in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Mr Fraissignes does not hide that a route to China is high on the priority list, complementing charter traffic.
For e-commerce, of course. “We could turn into an e-commerce hub, redistributing the goods all across France.”
Today 88% of that volume is handled by ADP. The main competition, however, comes from airports located north and west of Chateauroux, such as Leipzig-Halle, Liege, Luxembourg, Cologne, and Hahn.
From the airport 180 million consumers can be served at a 12 h range, Mr Fraissignes adds. The EuroSity Logistic Platform has a warehouse capacity of 120,000 m². The runway is 3,500 m long and the sky over Châteauroux is always clear, asserts Mr Fraissignes.