Brussels Airport reports 72% increase in cargo quantities in Q1

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Brussels Airport started the year well with a strong increase in freight volumes. This accelerated until April, mainly because of the high demand for air freight throughout Europe. Contrary to the passenger figures, cargo volumes are compared to the 2020 figures as the COVID-19 pandemic has had only a limited impact on cargo volumes last year.

The growth of air freight compared to 2020 is remarkable in all segments, in the integrator segment (55 per cent), the full-freighter segment (59 per cent) and even in belly cargo (492 per cent), which rebounded from very low volumes in April 2020.

In the full-freighter segment, Brussels Airport records general growth in the activities of all existing clients. Four new cargo carriers have come to strengthen the logistics platform at Brussels Airport by opening new routes to Asia: Azul, Japan Airlines, SpiceJet and China Central Longhao Airlines. The activity in the integrator segment structurally remains at a higher level than in previous years thanks to the strong increase in online purchases.

Import and export volumes have increased, especially inbound volumes coming from Asia and North America.  

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to and from Brussels Airport continue, with tens of millions of vaccines handled at Brussels Airport to this day, making Brussels Airport an important hub in the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The total number of flight movements decreased by 70 per cent in April 2021 (5,879 movements compared to 19,710 movements in pre-COVID April 2019). The number of passenger flights decreased by 83 per cent. The average number of passengers per flight was 85.

The number of full-freighter flights remains well above the level forecast for 2020, with a high number of additional flights operated with passenger aircraft used to carry cargo only. Proportionally, there is no increase in night flights or the use of noisy wide bodies. Several airlines continue to use these aircraft to provide additional cargo capacity to compensate partially for the loss of belly capacity on normal passenger flights.

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