Thanks to its geographical location at the center of Europe’s Golden Triangle, the Belgian airline belonging to Challenge Group, is able to offer the market a holistic service. The Group’s ground handling and road feeder subsidiaries are also based in Liège, thus completing the offer of air cargo transport by adding import and export handling, trucking solutions, customs clearance, tracking and tracing of goods, and other services requested for by customers.
“Challenge Accepted,” is the motto of the Challenge Group which translates into no task is too difficult for the staff to handle. An extremely high demand that is proven repeatedly in daily practice. The ultimate USP, however, comes in the shape of Challenge Handling and Challenge Logistics; the Group’s ground handling and road feeder network subsidiaries operating in Liège. “Challenge Airlines BE is in the unique position of being able to offer a complete solution package to its many international customers, door-to-door, if required,” states Martin Scheffmann, Chief Operating Officer of the Belgian airline.
Fleet growth announced
Incepted in 2019, Challenge Airlines BE currently has a pool of around 100 cockpit crew available to fly its fleet of two Boeing 747 freighters - one 747-400BCF (OO-ACE), and a B747-400ERF (OO-ACF). The fleet is due to double in size by the end of 2023, when two more Boeing 747s are reallocated from Challenge Airlines IL, the manager announces. A letter of intent is also in place for a fifth Boeing 747, to be added to the fleet at a later stage.
Connecting three key markets
The Liège-based, licensed carrier received its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in April 2019 and began operating in May 2019. Just two months later, in July 2019, it obtained the USA OPS SPEC from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing it to also serve the United States and, in September 2020, the China OPS SPEC was authorized, broadening its network reach to China, too.
With the demise of Russian freight carrier, AirBridgeCargo, there is strong demand for intercontinental cargo flights connecting the U.S., Europe, and the Far East, which benefits capacity providers such as Challenge Airlines BE.
Record year expected
Currently, the carrier operates around 36 flights per week. While some of these are charters (mostly to destinations in China), it also offers free sales on its Sharjah, Tel Aviv, Wuhan, and U.S. connections. Those capacities are managed by the Group’s commercial entity, Challenge Air Cargo. Challenge Airlines BE registered a record year in 2021 and is forecast to outperform again in 2022, according to Mr. Scheffmann and the management.
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