Air transport continues to be adversely affected by the global economic situation and 2013 was a mixed year that fell into two halves as far as Liege Airport was concerned. The first period ran from January to June and confirmed the trends observed in 2012 with a fall in the volumes passing through our facility. For the first time in 18 months, things picked up again in July and this improvement continued through the rest of the year. Thus 2013 closed more positively than might have been expected. Over twelve months, a total of 561,000 metric tonnes passed through Liege, almost exactly the same as the year before.
“We saw signs of recovery towards the middle of the year but it was still fragile. Since then, each month has been better compared to the same respective month in 2012. Growth prospects for 2014 are real”, says Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport: “For several years, we have been the first cargo airport in Belgium and we received the Airport of the Year Award 2013 at the FIATA World Congress (Fédération internationale des transitaires et assimilés – International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations). This prestigious award demonstrates the relevance of our strategy and the good performance of the entire freight community at our airport. More and more companies choose to work at specialised cargo airports like ours. In 2013, the arrival and growth of Qatar Airways was a very positive development, as was the arrival of well-known freight forwarders such as Panalpina and Kuehne Nagel. Several new contracts will be signed and will probably help us to surpass the level of 600,000 metric tonnes transported.”
For its part, the development of passenger activity continues favorably, up 4% with 315,293 passengers passing through Liege Airport in 2013 (303,286 in 2012). The arrival in 2014 of a new operator, Air Corsica, with two new destinations (Bastia and Ajaccio), confirms the good prospects for the development of passenger activity at Liege Airport.
The diversification strategy pays off
The diversification strategy of the airport has also been successful. It will be continued and intensified in 2014. The real estate subsidiary Liege Airport Business Park has achieved a 95% occupancy rate of its offices and warehouses. Q-quality and visibility are the main reasons attracting companies to rent offices and halls on the Liege Airport site. The consultancy assignments are another source of satisfaction. Liege Airport has taken on a particularly important assignment for the future Grand Ouest Airport at Nantes (France).
Finally, it should be noted that there were 41,046f aircraft movements in 2013 (compared to 45,285 movements in 2012). This reflects the change in the fleets of active airlines, which are increasingly operating aircraft with greater capacity.
Liege Airport is the first cargo airport in Belgium and the 8th cargo airport in Europe. In less than 15 years, Liege Airport has created and consolidated 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. The model developed by Liege Airport, based on flexibility, rapidity and simplicity, allows us to offer the best financial conditions on the market and to make major savings for our customers. – AIRPORT OF THE YEAR