Another record year for cargo at Liege

By Rachelle Harry

Liege Airport

Liege Airport has broken its record for cargo traffic in 2020, topping its previous ‘record year’ in 2019.  

The Belgiuan hub attributed its cargo growth to increased freighter operations following the grounding of passenger flights in the first half of 2020, as well as growth in e-commerce and increased demand for PPE and medical supplies.

The hub saw a 24% increase in airfreight demand — from 902,480 tonnes in 2019 to 1,120,643 last year.

It also reported a 10.7% year-on-year increase in cargo flights in 2020, up to 34,264.

“This growth is reflected in an increase in daytime flights,” a spokesperson for the hub explained. 

The total number of aircraft movements (landings and take-offs) last year was reported as “stable” with 40,300 flights in 2020, compared with 39,886 flights in 2019.

Meanwhile, passenger traffic at decreased year on year by 74%.

Luc Partoune, chief executive of Liege Airport, commented: “The year 2020 was the worst year for the global airline industry.

“Covid-19 had a significant impact on passenger transport. Alternatives to the transport of goods in the holds of passenger planes had to be found.

“There was a lot of pressure on full cargo planes, which are our speciality. We also transported large quantities of medical equipment to fight against the pandemic (masks, respirators, protection kits etc.), so much so that we became the hub for the [United Nation’s] World Food Programme.

Partoune added: “The lockdown also had a direct effect on consumption patterns, which is reflected by a boom in the e-commerce sector, a sector which has become much more important to us as we have handled over 500, packages this year, compared to just over 320m in 2019.”

In early December last year, Liege Airport said it had handled 1m tonnes of cargo and marked the milestone as a “historic and symbolic day”.

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