01JAN21 has brought the retirement of Marcel Buelens as the CEO of the Flemish airports of Antwerp and Ostend. As for the latter, he concluded his career with an impressive result of 52,659 tons. The beginning of the new year was marked by the arrival of a new client.
Mr Buelens (°1954) joined Egis, the French company that owns the operating concession for the two airports, in 2014. He admits that he had always had the intention to stay for another 2
The setback the industry had to suffer in 2020, especially impacting the Antwerp passenger traffic, made him change this decision. Mr Buelens has been succeeded by Egis colleague, Eric Dumas; a French national who was at the helm of the airports of Lyon, Tahiti, Brazzaville, and Abidjan.
With last year’s volume, Ostend doubled 2019’s 24,757 tons. It was the airport’s best result since 2013. The number of flights grew by 133%, compared to 2019. Ostend, too, was able to benefit from the strong demand for cargo flights following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Long-time customer Egyptair extended its offer, and companies like Qatar and Magma found their way to the airport. A lot of the consignments consisted of medical equipment, food, and e-commerce products.
2020 also brought some disappointment for the airport when new customer Hongyuan decided to relocate to Liege Airport at the 11th hour, right after the welcoming ceremony at Ostend. In addition to LGG, Hongyuan also serves BRU 6 times a week.
Not the pandemic, but Brexit inspired the British charter company Jota Aviation to set up an airbridge service between Ostend and Birmingham, in collaboration with the logistic partner Priority Freight. Jota operates 2 daily flights with a Bae-146. Depending on demand, the capacity can be either expanded or reduced.
Marcel Schoeters in Ostend
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