China's Belt and Road initiative wins friends in Belgium's Liege Airport
BELGIUM's Liege Airport is the latest to benefit from the China's Belt and Road Initiative, as the launch of new direct flights and freight rail connections opens doors in relations between both countries, reports Xinhua
BELGIUM's Liege Airport is the latest to benefit from the China's Belt and Road Initiative, as the launch of new direct flights and freight rail connections opens doors in relations between both countries, reports Xinhua.
'I think that the initiative of China has to be followed by other initiatives from other countries. Liege Airport is connected with 80 cities in Europe, whereas we are connected with countries all over the Middle East and beyond,' said Liege Airport CEO Luc Partoune.
With more Chinese tourists and entrepreneurs benefiting from new transport routes to make their way to the Belgian city, Liege is fast turning into a vibrant commercial hub thanks to its flourishing e-commerce and Digital Hub platform.
Mr Partoune said his terminal airport 'has developed a strategy regarding full cargo freighters that is the seventh largest cargo airport in Europe and ranked in the top 30 in the world'.
In April 2015, an Airbus plane carrying about 400 Chinese tourists landed at Liege Airport, the first Chinese passenger charter flight in Europe. Later that year, three new Chinese passenger charter flights were launched between Liege and several Chinese cities including Xi'an, Shenyang and Tianjin.
In 2016, direct flights were added from more Chinese cities such as Taiyuan, Changsha and Chongqing to Liege. During a three-year period, the project brought more than 50,000 Chinese tourists to Europe in one year, allowing for further business opportunities between Belgian and Chinese entrepreneurs.
Freight trains also link Liege and central China's Zhengzhou city, offering new opportunities for future trade, said the official Chinese news agency report.
In December 2018, Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belgian federal government and the Walloon District Government at Liege Airport, marking the first entry of Ali Group's World Electronic Trading Platform (eWTP) into European markets. An agreement was also signed to include Liege's 'Digital Hub (eHub) to facilitate the entry of SME products into the Chinese market.'