After the departure of the Chinese full freighter carrier Yangtze River Express in February, Air Cargo Global has now also decided to leave Brussels Airport as a result of the legal insecurity and the financial risks caused by the decision of the Brussels Capital Region to drop the tolerance margin of the noise fines. Air Cargo Global will now operate from Amsterdam and Prague.
In 2016 the volume of the cargo carried by Yangtze River Express and Air Cargo Global amounted to nearly 20,000 tonnes which represents about 12% of the total cargo volume handled at Brussels Airport.
Cargo carrier Magma Aviation too has informed Brussels Airport of its intention to leave the airport in the next few weeks if the operation restrictions imposed by Brussels continue to exist.
According to Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, the government’s decision to postpone the actual collection of fines for up to two years actually creates a period of uncertainty. He said: “The carriers make their decision based on the tickets they receive today, not on the basis of the fines the Brussels government makes known two years later. […] This is what makes airlines decide to relocate their operations abroad which for Belgium results in a loss of jobs and economic value”.
Recent years have seen Brussels Airport attract several cargo airlines while it has also developed as a major hub for the shipment of pharmaceuticals.
In May 2016, Brussels Airport and Miami International Airport (MIA) announced the creation of an international pharma air hub alliance.They were the first two airports in the world to be designated as pharmaceuticals freight hubs by IATA.