Luxembourg Airport is the fifth in Europe in terms of airfreight, and seventh for express services like DHL and UPS. Also, it is growing in stature as a regional airport for business and leisure travel. Johnann Vanneste, CEO of the operating company lux-Airport, explains this growing success story.
How can Luxembourg compete in this highly competitive market?
Fast throughput is key for our clients. Planes never have to wait because there is plentiful unloading capacity. Planes land, unload, reload, refuel and then leave again, often within a couple of hours. Then the processing of freight is very fast thanks to efficient cooperation with the customs authority and the Luxair Cargo handling company. The supporting infrastructure is there too, thanks to activist government policy supporting the logistics sector. This is the home base for leading cargo carrier Cargolux, as well as being a place of entry into the EU for many others.
Location is also important.
Yes. We have excellent road and rail connections, with the main routes crossing from Luxembourg to Germany, France, Belgium, and beyond. We enable air cargo carriers to work closely with trucking firms, so that once freight arrives it is delivered around Europe, often on the same day.
What is the “dual-hub strategy” with Henan Airport?
Luxembourg has an agreement with the Henan Civil Aviation and Investment Company (HCNA) to promote air cargo freight traffic between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou Airport in Henan Province. This began last year with one flight per week, and by the end of the year this had grown to six to match increased volume. Based on these developments and our good relationship with Zhengzhou Airport, the HCNA and tourist officials, I am confident that we are on the right track. This move is in line with the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road Initiative. We are really focusing on Zhengzhou because things are moving very fast there, with industry benefiting from lower wages and low congestion. Cargo and passenger volumes are booming there.
What is your vision for Lux Airport?
This airport is on course to more than double it business in the next ten years. We could be serving 4 to 5 million passengers. Of course, a lot depends on the economy but at the current momentum we are in line to grow, particularly as we have a second terminal in mothballs ready for use. As for air cargo, there is room to double as well. The effect would be to create an important regional player. I invite Chinese businesspeople and tourists to visit. They will find an airport that is convenient and well run, and a country that is charming and full of interest.