Paris-Vatry Airport is in the heart of the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. It is structured around four major divisions: passenger transport, cargo shipping, private aviation and flight training.
The airport is equipped with CAT A infrastructure and a 3,860m long runway, which allows it to receive any type of aircraft without restrictions.
“We are open every day of the year, without slot or noise restrictions,” reveals Yoann Maugran, cargo sales manager at Paris-Vatry Airport. The airport’s two freight terminals have a total capacity for 12,000m2 storage, including a 2,500m2 temperature-controlled zone.
Its proximity to Paris and the Benelux region is of benefit to the airport, feels Maugran. “It is easy to access and these factors put us on the industry radar to be the preferred airport in France for charter operations.”
Paris-Vatry Airport mainly handles ad-hoc flights but for all types of cargo including relief goods, temperature and time-sensitive shipments, live animals and outsized cargo. “Air freight volumes are growing globally, and we saw an exceptional year in 2017 with a boom in our cargo activity due to saturation at the big European hubs.”
Maugran sees plenty of opportunities arising, and not only for charters, but for regular cargo activity too, which is a top priority for the airport in 2018, specifically looking towards the Asian and African markets.
German freight growth
Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany saw just over 1 million passengers between January and June this year and handled 1.14 million tonnes of freight in 2017, and according to Johannes Jähn, managing director, it is Europe’s fifth-largest cargo airport.
“Volumes of air freight have been consistently increasing for 12 years and the figures for 2018 are already significantly higher than in the previous year – with double-digit growth,” he reports.
The cargo statistics at the end of the first half of this year reached 606,500 tonnes, an increase of more than 12 per cent over the same period in 2017.
“The engine for growth is particularly with DHL, which operates the largest international hub in its network at the airport site,” says Jähn.
The general cargo business also looks in good shape with triple-digit growth, Jähn reports. He says increasing activities by the likes of AirBridgeCargo and Antonov Airlines and the development of long term freight charters have helped push numbers up.
China has been a vital growth area too as Jähn indicates: “about two dozen flights operate between Leipzig/Halle and destinations in China every week at the moment.”
The airport also maintains several cooperation arrangements with Chinese partners like the Shenzhen Airport Group, the Shanghai Airport Authority, and the Henan Province Airport Group.
Leipzig/Halle Airport has seen more than €1.5 million invested in its development. More than 60 cargo airlines regularly use the airport every year and fly to more than 200 destinations around the globe.
The airport has a 24-hour operating permit for cargo flights as well as direct links to the trans-European motorway and railway networks in a north-south and east-west direction. As a result, it does offer ideal conditions for transporting goods by road and rail. The runway system comprises two parallel runways, each 3,600 metres long and they can be used independently of each other in CAT IIIB conditions.
Last year Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) handled 835,000 tonnes of air cargo: “For 2018 we currently anticipate a further positive development of the handled volumes,” tells Torsten Wefers, Director General for Cargo. CGN sees considerable operations from UPS and both FedEx and DHL Express.
Furthermore, the general cargo business at CGN is rapidly developing with carriers such as MNG Airlines, EgyptAir Cargo, Cargojet Airways and Turkish Airlines contributing to growth. As with Leipzig/Halle and several other airports express cargo is a key focus.
Definitely e-commerce and express cargo volumes show double-digit monthly growth figures,” says Wefers. “Our unique location in the centre of the strongest European export market and the strength of the German export industry are also contributing factors.”
This growth is also supported by CGN’s full flexible around the clock operating permit, infrastructure and handling services. Locally, Wefers sees huge growth rates in the commodities perishable and automotive markets.
Paris-Vatry Airport continues investment in technology
Back in France, Paris-Vatry is working with IATA to obtain the CEIV pharma certification. “It’s an ongoing process, staff have been trained and we hope to be certified by the start 2019,” Maugran reports.
The French airport will invest in a temperature-controlled warehouse to reach the standards of the pharma industry in terms of handling, storage, and temperature monitoring.
“We have noted significant interest from pharmaceutical freight operators, even more so as the airport is a member of the PLC (Pharma Logistics Club) for two years.”
Infrastructure developments include the expansion of the fuelling station to double the capacity and Maugran says this investment allows the airport to accommodate several widebody freighters on the same day.
“We have just renewed our fuel procurement and supply contract with a petroleum company, which allows us to be more competitive with the price of kerosene,” he states.
A maintenance hangar for A320 and B737-type aircraft will also be on-site at Paris-Vatry following an investment of €2.4 million. The new hangar will be operational at the end of 2019.
E-commerce cargo growth
Growth in demand for e-commerce cargo is certainly an area Paris-Vatry is looking to grab a larger share and Maugran confirms that discussions are ongoing with key players in that space.
In other developments, in July it was announced that the Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicAir have signed a protocol for strategic cooperation with Liège Airport in Belgium.
This agreement aims to create a regional centre in Liège to strengthen their respective positions on the European market and increase their freight volume. In total, more than 23,000m2 of warehouses will be built, €26 million invested and 400 new jobs will be created.
The partners will join forces to create a regional centre for transport operations of the Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicAir. Concretely, a handling service will be put in place to ensure the ramp-up of flights from six per week to 30 flights per week in the medium term.
Liège Airport will support the two companies in the opening of new air links, in their relations with the federal and regional administrations, and will provide all the necessary services for this development.
David Kerr, CEO of CargoLogicAir, said: “The development of a European centre in Liège will boost our cargo services and allow us to cover the most important catchment areas in Europe.
We will be able to guarantee high-end services with Liège Airport. This airport is not only one of the best airports specialised in air cargo, but it also shows significant progress in the development of handling.”
Over in the UK, East Midlands Airport (EMA) also reported record levels of cargo. In early July the airport indicated that the value of non-EU goods handled at the airport was 4 per cent up compared with the same period last year and, over the last 12 months, equates to almost £10 billion.
The total amount of cargo (both EU and non-EU) that passed through EMA is also at its highest ever, as the airport reports. In the 12 months up to March 2018, 358,477 tonnes of cargo were exported and imported through EMA, which is a 9.7 per cent increase on the previous year.
Contributing to the increase in the volume of cargo being shipped through EMA is the doubling in size of DHL’s logistics facility at the airport – a €184 million investment – and the increase in demand for e-commerce and next-day-deliveries. Work has also started on a new UPS £114 million facility which is due to open late 2019.
The airport is a magnet for new complementary developments that are springing up around the airport. Most notable is the first of several large facilities at the SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG) and strategic rail freight interchange just to the north of the airfield.
The 700-acre development has planning consent for up to 6 million ft2 of logistics accommodation. Businesses that have already committed to moving onto the site include Amazon, Nestlé, Shop Direct, and Kuehne + Nagel.
It incorporates a 50-acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange which includes a rail freight terminal, capable of handling up to sixteen 775m freight trains per day, container storage and HGV parking.
This site was purposely chosen for its proximity to the airport. When operational, the East Midlands Gateway will be home to the UK’s first co-located rail and air freight interchange.