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BRUSSELS: December 15, 2017. Brussels Airport is finalizing plans for a new cargo warehouse and additional apron space in anticipation of new services by Amerijet and Cathay Pacific next year as annual cargo throughput rises to nearly 700,000 tons in 2017.

Head of Cargo and Logistics Steven Polmans said the airport has exceeded 500,000 tons of flown cargo this year – the first time since DHL moved its European express hub from Brussels to Leipzig.

Brussels EK"Although not an all-time high, this is a symbolic milestone for us and our cargo community," he declared. "Since 2008, our volumes dropped under 500.000 tons of cargo and in 2013 we were even flirting with the 400.000 number. But in the last four years we have seen an overall growth of over 25 percent in our flown volumes".

With growth of 9.5 percent this year, Polmans said the main driver was a 13 percent rise in passenger aircraft bellyhold cargo followed by a 9.9 percent increase in Integrator traffic and 6.6 percent upswing in full freighter volumes.

He noted that airport cargo management company BRUcargo also handled over 140.000 tons of local cargo between other European hubs while export traffic "increased considerably" during the year, particularly on routes to South America and Asia.

The airport is expecting more growth next year as some airlines, including Hainan Airlines to Shanghai or a second daily flight by Emirates to Dubai, only began services to Brussels at the start of the current winter schedule.

Polmans said he expected the go-ahead for additional cargo facilities, coupled with the introduction of a third handling agent, to be announced in the first quarter of 2018. He added that other plans next year include a slot booking system for all truck movements at the cargo zone and the pooling of airside handling equipment.

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