Luxembourg Airport at 6th place in the European top 10 airfreight airports

January 20, 2017

821,000 tonnes, +8.2% of cargo in 2016 Luxembourg Airport climbs to 6th place in the EU

The growth of the airfreight sector at Luxembourg Airport continued and even accelerated in 2016. 821,000,000 kg of airfreight was handled, representing a growth of 8.2% over the 759,000 tonnes handled in 2015. This growth rate is almost double the growth rate of 2015 and far outpaced the worldwide growth of airfreight which peaked at 3.2% in freight-ton-kilometres (FTKs) according to the IATA’s November statistics. The growth at Luxembourg Airport was also far higher than the European average of 6.8%. As a result, Luxembourg Airport has now overtaken Cologne-Bonn, the major airfreight hub for UPS, moving from 7th to 6th place in the European top 10 of the largest airfreight airports. Luxembourg Airport is only preceded by Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Heathrow and Leipzig-Halle, the European hub of DHL.

Three factors contributed to this success: an overall increase of volumes in the second half of the year, a very strong “peak season” in the fourth quarter in the run-up to Christmas and the strong expansion of Qatar Airways in the second half of the year which increased its flights from 6 to 17 flights per week. Qatar Airways chose Luxembourg Airport as its European hub and it aims to further increase its number of weekly flights once more parking space becomes available on the Luxembourg Airport cargo apron.

The second half of the year was particularly strong with 8% growth in the 3rd quarter and no less than 16% in the 4th quarter. The growth for the month of December 2016 was 27% higher than the same month in 2015. Trade with China increased by 13% over the course of the year.

Cargolux remains by far Luxembourg Airport’s largest customer with 675,000 tonnes of freight equating to an 82% market share. Qatar Airways is now firmly in second position with 44,170 tonnes equating to a 5.4% market share. Atlas Air is in 3rd position with almost 39,000 tonnes followed by both China Airlines and Silk Way West Airlines, each at approximately 19,100 tonnes.

Infrastructure investments

This fast growth required additional investment in cargo infrastructure. The largest investment was the extension of the Cargo Apron to increase its capacity from 8 to 12 Boeing 747-8 positions. The works for this extension will start at the end of January and represent an investment of approximately 40 million Euros. The works should be completed by mid-2018. A further extension for another 4 747s is still possible in the future potentially enabling a total capacity to 16 747s to be handled at the same time.

LuxairCargo furthermore invested in a new fast lane truck-loading terminal for ULDs and is extending the dedicated handling area for outsized and heavy shipment with a new building of 3,000 m². This type of special freight also recorded a fast growth of 8.5% in 2016, totalling 70,000 tonnes. Cargolux specialises in this kind of freight which can be easily loaded onto its 747 aircraft via the large nose door. Entire helicopters, large aircraft engines and very long oil-drilling pipes are just a few examples of the special cargo which is transported via Luxembourg Airport.

A lot of unusual animals also found their way through Luxembourg Airport and Luxair Cargo’s specialized veterinary services in 2016: 10 Brown Bears, 4 bulls, 6 camels, 34 cows, 1534 horses, 3457 pigs, 1047 dogs, 2 lynx, 65 swans, 9 tigers and 12 zebras all were carefully transported via Luxembourg Airport. In total, 139,766 animals passed through the doors of Luxair Cargo.

Finally, high-value and temperature-controlled pharmaceutical goods continued to play an important role for Luxembourg Airport. The volume of these goods increased to 30,000 tonnes in 2016, all precisely handled according to GDP certification standards. Both Luxair Cargo and Cargolux recently renewed their GDP certificate, which remains valid for 3 years.

In June 2016, lux-Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Shanghai Airport’s Eastern Air Logistics to create a GDP certified trade lane between Luxembourg and Shanghai, which is similar to the MOU signed with Hong Kong Airport’s Cargo Terminal (HACTL). These agreements highlight the importance of Pharmaceutical goods for Luxembourg Airport.

airfreight

Lux-Airport – extension of the Cargo Apron to increase its capacity from 8 to 12 Boeing 747-8 positions

Cargolux – Loading of an entire helicopter

Cargolux – Loading of an entire helicopter

Cargolux – loading via the large nose door

Lux-Airport – extension of the dedicated handling area for outsized and heavy shipment with a new building of 3,000 m²