Newcomer CMA CGM Air Cargo, a subsidiary of the French shipping line CMA CGM, launched its maiden flight today (13MAR21), taking off from Liège, Belgium, to Chicago O’Hare Airport, USA. The A330-200F was operated by Air Belgium. More flights are to come as the fleet grows.
The freighter departed on Suday at 11:52h local time with 51 tons aboard. A second Airbus A330-200F will enter into service on 18MAR21, and it too will serve the United States. Two additional A330-200Fs acquired by CMA CGM and flown by Air Belgium will follow successively.
All future flights are based on a four-pronged collaborative approach: CMA CGM provides the freighter aircraft purchased previously from Qatar Airways; Air Belgium is responsible for all operational activities; CMA CGM logistics subsidiary CEVA secures a basic capacity utilization of the services (sources speak of up to 25%); and finally, Paris-based GSA ECS markets the majority part of the freighter’s available capacity, putting the sales agent in a core position within the cooperative model.
Direct booking of capacity
Another important contributor responsible for helping to up the load factor of future cargo flights taking from Liège to the States is the electronic booking platform CargoAi, which enables forwarders to book shipments on CMA CGM Air Cargo in just a couple of clicks.
Frédéric Jacquet landed his first commercial coup
For Liège Airport’s new CEO, Frédéric Jacquet, who succeeded former LGG boss Luc Partoune after he was fired in FEB21 following corruption charges, the cargo newcomer is the first acquisition since taking over.
So, no surprise that the executive expressed his contentedness with CMA CGM's decision to choose LGG as its operational air base in Europe. “We are really proud to be hosting a world-renowned group such as CMA CGM, as it develops its cargo operations. A French family group that draws on the expertise of a Belgian company such as Air Belgium, works with Sabena Aerospace for its maintenance, and bases its aircraft at Liège Airport: what we have here is three companies coming together with the same overall ambition to grow and develop,” he exclaimed on the occasion of the maiden flight.
Liege is on the advance
The Marseille-based shipping line’s decision in favor of Liège Airport shows once again that the Walloon airport has meanwhile not only made a prominent name for itself in the world of cargo, but that it plays an important role as a cargo hub and multimodal gateway in western Europe. This is evidenced by a 24% tonnage increase in 2020, compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 1,120,643 tons passing through Liège Airport.
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