Belgian cargo GSSA Aero Freight International is opening a second office, based at Liege Airport, targeting freighter operators seeking a full management and marketing solution at the airport.

The new Aero Freight office will provide an on-airport base from which the company will offer representation for airlines serving the airport, together with support services designed to make the airport more accessible to the Belgian airfreight agent community, which is mostly centred around Brussels Airport.

Aero Freight has identified Liege’s vast potential, particularly for freighter operators. However, the airport’s restricted local freight agent community means that it needs links to larger agent communities at other airports, and a local coordination function to manage the receiving and hand-out of cargo, road feeders etc.

Says Aero Freight MD Lode Verspeelt, ‘Liege has a great future, particularly for pure freighter operators. In order for Belgian freight forwarders to support such services, we need to provide them with a neutral presence that makes it as easy for them to do business here as at any other airport.

‘We are in an ideal position to offer new operators the support they need: a local management function here in Liege, and an effective marketing function through our main Brussels office, in the heart of Belgium’s major airfreight forwarding area.’

He continues, ‘We have been very impressed with the support we have received from Liege Airport; they are flexible and development-minded. We are delighted to be the first and only GSSA at Liege, and are confident we can help each other to grow.’

Adds Liege Airport Cargo Sales Manager Eric Gysen, ‘Liege Airport is in the middle of the ‘Golden Triangle’: the area between Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt which generates 65% of all European airfreight traffic.

‘With the best average road feeder transit times to all major airfreight centres, no congestion, no curfews and very low airport charges, we estimate that a five times a week B747 freighter operation will save around ‘3.5 million per year.’

Concludes Gysen, ‘We have a great deal to offer freighter operators, and with the arrival of Aero Freight we now have a total airline support package.’

Liege has seen cargo growth every year since 1997, and ranks number 8 in Europe with 400,000 tons of cargo throughput in 2005. The airport has well-established facilities for handling live animals and perishables including an EU BIP (Border Inspection Post). It offers 24/7 Customs presence, has two runways, CAT III ILS status, no slot restrictions, and no night flight bans. It also claims fuelling costs below most other airports in Europe.

Aero Freight was launched in 1992, and represents Aeroflot, Air Malta, Coyne Airways, Croatia Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Czech Airlines, ICAR, JAT Yugoslav Airlines, Leisure Cargo, LOT Polish Airlines and Mahan Air. It is the exclusive Belgian member of the EGSAC consortium of independent cargo GSSAs, which collectively represents over 150 airlines from 60 bases throughout Europe, India, Israel, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.