* Singapore Airlines’ Cargo to double frequencies at BRU from four to eight weekly from 28 October as Amsterdam Airport slot restrictions bite
Singapore Airlines (SQ) Cargo is moving half of its freighter flight operations from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Brussels Airport in anticipation of a significant reduction in freighter flight slots at the Dutch airport later this month.
The head of cargo and logistics at Brussels Airport, Steven Polmans, told Lloyd's Loading Listthat the carrier would be transferring four of its eight weekly freighter flights from Schiphol to the
Belgian gateway as of winter flight schedules starting 28 October, doubling its freighter frequencies at Brussels from four to eight flights weekly.
Asked whether it had not come as a surprise that SQ had chosen to increase freighter flights at Brussels when it was among the companies that have been fined recently by the Brussels regional government for infringing noise pollution regulations, Polman replied: “It’s not that much of a surprise to us. For many years, both Amsterdam and Brussels have been the main hubs for SQ Cargo in Europe.”
He said it was not a simple matter for carriers to set up a new station at an alternative airport at very short notice in response to the slot restrictions in Amsterdam, which a number of carriers
were confronted with at present. “Having handling, offices, staff, etc. available in Brussels is thus a big advantage for SQ Cargo and moving flights here is a logical decision.”
In addition to SQ, Polmans said he expected other flights to come to Brussels from Amsterdam, adding: “But since discussions are not yet finalised, there’s not much we can say.”
Earlier this week, AirBridgeCargo announced it would gradually increase its cargo capacity at Liège Airport to 12 flights per week from this month, in response to imminent freighter slot cuts and uncertainty at Amsterdam.
As reported previously in Lloyd’s Loading List, air traffic capacity constraints for the forthcoming winter season are expected to have a significant impact on freighter operations at AMS, resulting in an estimated cut of 10-20% to the current level of freighter flights after strong passenger and freight traffic growth this year caused Schiphol to breach its annual quota of 500,000 air traffic movements (ATM), a figure decided upon within the framework of a locally binding agreement signed in 2008.
Although talks are continuing this week between government and industry to minimise the effects of slot cuts on freighter operations, cargo airlines with freighter operations at Amsterdam have been weighing up alternative airports to serve their European customers.
Other European airports expected to benefit from the expected capacity cuts at Amsterdam include Maastricht, Hahn, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, and Paris.