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Belgiums prime minister charles michelTEL AVIV: February 06, 2017. Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel dropped by the CAL Group head office during a three-day visit to Israel this week.

The airline has a long commercial history with Belgium having established Liege Air Cargo Handling Services (LACHS) at Liege airport 20 years ago. CAL is also in the process of establishing a Belgian air operator's certificate for cargo services.

Set up in 1997 as a joint venture with Israel's Agrexco Agricultural Export Company (AGREXO) to ship perishables, LACHS now employs 200 people and specializes in air cargo ground handling. In 2006 CAL acquired the AGREXCO shareholding to become sole owner.

Michel (left of picture), who also met with Israel's president Reven Rivlin during his visit, noted Europe remains Israel's main trading partner. He also confirmed a visit by American vice president Mike Pence to Brussels on February 19 to discuss bilateral relations between Belgium and the U.S.

Liege Airport reported a 1.7 percent increase in cargo handled last year to total 660,604 tonnes, making it the 8th largest cargo gateway in Europe.

"There has been sustained business growth for all our companies with significant increases for CAL, El Al and Qatar Airways," said Luc Partoune the airport's managing director. "In a transition phase following the buyout by FedEx, TNT continues to perform well and remains our most important client," he added.

Liege will spend €4 million this year to build a 6,000 sq.mt. cargo warehouse in the north part of the airport.

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