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Liege enjoys record air cargo year up 24pc to 1.12 million tonnes in 2020

BELGIUM's Liege Airport has broken its record for cargo traffic in 2020, topping its previous record year in 2019 due 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

20 January 2021 - 19:00
BELGIUM's Liege Airport has broken its record for cargo traffic in 2020, topping its previous record year in 2019 due 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 Belgian hub saw a 24 per cent increase in air freight demand - from 902,480 tonnes in 2019 to 1,120,643 last year. It also reported a 10.7 per cent year-on-year increase in cargo flights in 2020, up to 34,264.



'This growth is reflected in an increase in daytime flights,' said a spokesman.



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 per cent, reports London's Air Cargo News.



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 specialty. We also transported large quantities of medical equipment to fight against the pandemic (masks, respirators and protection kits), so much so that we became the hub for the (United Nation's) World Food Programme.



Mr 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 million packages this year, compared to just over 320 million in 2019.'



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


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