With the April opening of its new Brussels freighter hub, Finnair is poised to become a Top Five cargo carrier between Europe and Northeast Asia.
A pharmaceutical shipment arrives at Brussels airport, bound for Singapore. It is stored in a temperature-controlled facility and then loaded aboard a Finnair freighter newly arrived from New York JFK. After a 2.5 hour flight, it arrives in Helsinki, where it is stored at the brand-new pharmaceutical storage area at Helsinki Terminal. It is then loaded aboard a Finnair A340 aircraft and delivered to eagerly waiting personnel at a Singapore hospital, less than 24 hours after its journey began.
This is the future: pharmaceuticals, a promising growth area for Finnair Cargo – and a key reason why the airline chose Brussels as its second European freighter hub.
Brussels offers an ideal location close to key manufacturing regions in Benelux, the North of France and Western Germany, as well as an excellent road feeder network to a large catchment area.
“It is also Europe’s largest pharmaceutical hub. We expect to ship all types of cargo, but pharmaceuticals will be our largest growth segment,” explains Juha Järvinen, Managing Director of Finnair Cargo.
"We have dialogue ongoing with a number of pharmaceutical industry players, and our target is to become their preferred airline out of Brussels," says Järvinen. "The airport is very supportive of our launch. We are proud to call Brussels our second home," he adds.
The warm feeling is evidently mutual. "For Brussels Airport and our community, the arrival of Finnair is big news welcomed by everybody," says Steven Polmans, the Brussels Airport Company’s Head of Cargo.
"For us, the biggest benefit is that for the first time in many years we again have a European cargo operator at our airport. We are also happy to gain a customer with a high-quality reputation, and the current Finnair network gives us much better access to Southeast Asia, which is great news for our customers and stakeholders," explains Polmans.
But why did Finnair need a second European hub to supplement its Helsinki home base?
"Finnair aims to double its turnover on Asian routes by 2020. By adding Brussels, we can offer excellent, fast and reliable air freight service from Continental Europe to 14 Asian destinations and vice versa," explains Järvinen.
As of April 06th, Finnair Cargo will operate weekly MD-11 freighter flights connecting Brussels with Helsinki and New York JFK, which will significantly boost Finnair’s cargo volumes and catchment area.
"Last year, we exported 0.7 million kilograms of air freight out of Belgium. With the new hub, the figure should reach 4-5 million kilograms thanks to direct freighter flights to Helsinki connecting with Asia," estimates Järvinen.
Fast turnover and smooth transit will require intensive collaboration in such a complex multi-leg operation.
"Many airlines talk a lot about partnership, but Finnair doesn’t just talk, they really act. Our input is encouraged and valued. We all look forward to this co-operation very much," concludes Polmans.
Text by Silja Kudel
Published January 14, 2013
Category: Finnair Cargo