Of the 5,500 to 6,300 jobs to be axed in the resizing of the FedEx operation in Europe, 671 concern Liège (LGG) and 50 Brussels (BRU). Following FedEx’s announcement last week, a 48-hour strike was called at LGG. According to a source close to the airport management, it is too soon to assess the impact.
“First of all, we feel sympathy for the workers involved, who have done their utmost to keep cargo moving. We will wait for the outcome of the consultations with the unions,” a
spokesperson told CFG.
Yet, optimism for the longer term prevails at LGG: “We would like to point out that there are a lot of vacancies to fill with many members of the Liège Cargo Community - airlines, handlers, agents, and freight forwarders - thanks to the strong growth in 2020 and the positive outlook for the future.”
No data on lost volume
No assessment is given on the volume to be lost, however. “We are not authorized by FedEx to reveal anything on destinations or tonnage, however, in 2020, FedEx made up 27% of our volume, with 48 direct destinations. But so far, nothing has been said about future destinations or volume. The only figure that was put on the table, was the number of jobs in the sorting center. Given the investment in Paris CDG and the large amount of automation, they probably have additional and more cost-efficient sorting capacity there,” CFG’s source says.
Our contact concludes: “We are glad about the diversification we have put in place after years of hard work: a mix of express and general cargo, a mix of the European network of FedEx and the global long-haul network for e-commerce, perishables, pharma, live animals, and general cargo from our other carriers.”
Road network was the key for takeover
According to the FedEx press release, the resizing is part of the last stage of the network integration of TNT. When FedEx took over TNT in 2016, the latter’s surface transport fleet was the real dowry in the marriage.
Or, as the President of FedEx Europe, Karen Reddington puts it: “We acquired the TNT business in 2016 for one reason: to open up the world for our customers by connecting the global FedEx air network with TNT’s extensive European road network to become a top player in Europe.”
Secondary hub status
Even then, TNT’s European platform at Liège Airport was given its own part to play beside the much larger FedEx hub at Paris-CDG. Under the new plans, the company intends to duplicate its American dual-hub model in Europe, where Memphis acts as the universal hub, and Indianapolis as the secondary hub. In Europe, these roles will be played by Paris and Liège respectively. At the moment, additional information from the FedEx communication team is sparse as well as vague.
CFG: What services would be maintained at LGG?
FedEx: “If we decide to proceed with our intention, Liège will still remain an essential part of our air network in Europe. We intend to continue operating flights to and from Liège. These would be intra-European flights, connecting specific large European markets. In addition, Liège would support our ability to keep providing excellent service to our customers throughout the year. We are fully committed to entering a constructive dialogue with the works councils and unions and to clarify the situation of each employee as soon as possible”.
CFG: Will this resizing also impact the operation at CGN?
FedEx: “FedEx and TNT are continuously looking to optimize their networks to offer the best possible service to customers. The Cologne hub will still be an essential part of the FedEx air network in Europe.”
Marcel Schoeters in Liège
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.