On Thursday 09JUL20, HRH Philippe, King of the Belgians, paid tribute to the staff of Liege Airport (LGG) during a flying visit. The King was given a condensed overview of the operations at the airport, focusing on LGG’s role during the Covid-19 crisis.
Ever since the start of the pandemic, the Royal family has been touring Belgium, offering support for sectors that have been particularly hit by the Covid-19 outbreak; hospitals, homes for the
elderly, tourist hotspots, and logistic hubs such as the Port of Antwerp and now Liege Airport.
The visit started at the Cargo Nord area, where the King spoke to a selected group of airside staff, who were able to share their experiences since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. To a fuel supplier, the sovereign, who himself trained as a helicopter pilot at Liege Airport, remarked that he “still liked the smell of kerosene.” After that, a customs agent demonstrated the check of a consignment of face masks rejected because of their non-conformity with regulations.
So far, over a billion masks have been distributed via LGG, which was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as its European hub for all flights ex America, Asia, and Africa. The King
witnessed the unloading of a WHO dedicated aircraft.
The second leg of the royal visit took place at the FedEx distribution premises, where the sovereign was informed about the daily operations of the express hub. FedEx, too, is a major player in the distribution of medical supplies.
King Philippe’s visit was wound up with a round-table enabling the monarch to communicate directly not only with policy makers, but especially with the management of the companies and institutions directly involved in battling the pandemic on the logistics front, such as ASL Airlines, Swissport, FedEx, Alibaba Group, and the Customs Authorities.
For LGG Airport, the royal visit was an unprecedented PR operation, giving it a boost amidst the on-going stressful conditions brought about by the pandemic. According to Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport, the King’s visit is a recognition of the key role of the airline industry: "We are enormously proud that His Majesty the King is visiting our facilities. This pride reflects on our staff and all workers on the site who have stepped up their efforts during the Covid-19 crisis.”
“Companies and operators working together at Liege Airport have enabled the delivery of more than 1 billion masks! Air transport is vital in times of humanitarian crises, and we are pleased to have played a major role in protecting health workers and the population in general," Mr. Partoune added.
The King was also informed of the critical role played by Alibaba’s eWTP Hub at Liege Airport. “During this pandemic, our global eWTP hubs have played a significant role in distributing urgently needed medical supplies across the world, including our Belgium hub which has played a critical role in Europe. As countries gradually emerge from the crisis, our eWTP Hubs will pivot towards supporting global trade, with a focus on using technology to support SMEs, in order to assist with the economic recovery,” said James Song, Secretary-General of the Globalization Office of Alibaba Group.
Marcel Schoeters in Liege
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