German military utilises Leipzig for AN-124 Afghanistan flights

By Damian Brett

The German military is utilising Leipzig/Halle Airport to transport equipment back from Afghanistan.

The first Antonov-operated AN-124 flight as part of the operation arrived at the German freighter hub on May 18 carrying two helicopters. Cargo handler PortGround unloaded the aircraft.

Alexander König, managing director of PortGround, said: “Handling outsized cargo is one of our core skill areas. Whether this involves helicopters, machine parts, vehicles or underground train vehicles, all the customers at the airport benefit from our many years of experience,” 

Two Antonov 124-100 planes have been permanently stationed at Leipzig/Halle as part of NATO’s Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) project since March 2006.

NATO started the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in April following an earlier decision by US president Joe Biden to bring troops home.

The German airport has seen its volumes soar over the last year as cargo operations increasingly relied on freighter flights due to lost bellyhold networks.

In the first four months of the year, the hub saw demand increase by 22% year on year to 495,315 tonnes.

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