Brussels cargo volumes remain ahead of pre-Covid volumes

Brussels Airport

Cargo throughput at Brussels Airport remains ahead of pre-pandemic 2019.

Throughput at the airport totalled 65,358 tons in May, down 9% on the same month of 2021 but up 12.5% compared to May 2019, with Asia leading for both imports and exports.

Airfreight dropped by 4% to 52,629 tons and the number of cargo flights decreased by 8% compared to 2021, totalling 1,736. That figure is 39% higher than the total for May 2019.

There was a marked difference between the freighter segment – where volumes fell by 11% year on year to 21,044 tons – and belly cargo – which rose by 57% to reach 10,687 tons as more passenger flights returned. Belly cargo lagged behind 2019 levels by 22%.

Of the full-freighter flights, 34% were operated with passenger aircraft. But May saw the start of Boeing 747 cargo flights operated by Air Belgium in partnership with Hongyuan, as well as Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A321 cargo flights, signalling a shift away from ‘preighters’ to freighter aircraft, the airport observed.

Volumes on express services fell by 15% to 20,897 tons as the e-commerce market in western Europe slowed. Trucked volumes also decreased, by 25% year on year, to 12,730 tons.

Brussels Airport will invest €70m to further modernise its cargo zone over the next three years.

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