June 23, 2014: This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Billund Airport serving the western part of Denmark – where the vast majority of the country's manufacturing and exporting industries is located.

From a modest start in 1964 with 4,000 passengers and 66 tonnes of air cargo, Billund Airport has grown successively to become Denmark's second-largest international airport handling 2.8 mio passengers in 2013 as well as a record-high volume of air cargo: 63, 420 tonnes.

billund airportFollowing on another record year in 2013, signs are promising so far into 2014 as well, says Jan Ditlevsen, Billund Airport VP Cargo. Overall, the region's airfreight volumes are growing modestly but our sustained growth has been significant enough to support the Airport Board's decision to invest in a 3,600 sq.m. expansion of our cargo terminal area, bringing it to a total of 16,000 sq.m. Not enough to qualify for a No 1 position in Scandinavia, but certainly bringing Cargo Center Billund into the top league.

A prime driver behind this process is our innovative concept for air cargo outsourcing, now generating over 40 percent of all cargo volumes handled at the airport. Organized as a specific department with own infrastructure and staff, Outsourcing provides freight forwarders with a broad pallet of value added services covering both incoming and outgoing shipments, comprising acceptance and registration of goods, registration of weight and dimensions, document handling, labeling, document handling, re-packaging, printing of AWBs, consolidations, and for import shipments services including also break-down of consolidations, delivery, Customs clearance and neutralization.

With this concept, forwarders can bypass the airport entirely, leaving it to us to perform all physical handling as well as documents and data handling. Our outsourcing service provides forwarders and their customers with a cost-efficient and convenient interface to the world.

With volumes rising year by year, we are of course encouraged by prospects for sustained future growth, also boosted by the continued expansion of the cargo terminal directly adjoining the tarmac. Still, much effort has been invested over the years in attracting a scheduled cargo service to add to our capabilities.

With our geographical location immediately adjoining the potent North German industrial region, we should be able to capitalize on this as a natural enlargement of our catchment area – not least in light of the drastic decline in cargo traffic at Frankfurt Hahn Airport over the recent year. Compared to the lengthy lead-times in trucking of North German cargo to Frankfurt Airport, Billund Airport would constitute a cost-efficient and time-saving alternative. Needless to say, this remains a key target in our marketing efforts, says Mr Ditlevsen.

Even without scheduled freighter carrier operations, Billund Airport has about 1,650 freighter movements annually by the Integrators, as well as about 100 ad-hoc cargo charter operations including many live animals and perishables flights, relief operations and other special cargo assignments.