Guest blog by Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo, Brussels Airport Company
Somebody told me recently that almost a year has passed since Finnair Cargo began operating its Brussels route. For a few moments I thought this couldn’t be possible – it still feels as if we had our first cargo flight only a month ago. I also remember the day when we received the message saying that Finnair had selected us as their second European hub; it still feels like yesterday.
The expression “time flies when you are having fun” truly applies to this partnership, and we have been having a lot of fun over the past year. Finnair has proven to be an even better and more loyal partner than we had hoped for.
We have participated in several joint efforts to promote Finnair’s operations to and from Brussels, and more are planned for the near future. We always feel proud when we hear Finnair call Brussels its second home, and Finnair Cargo also feels a little bit like our home carrier.
Despite the challenging economic times impacting air cargo and especially full cargo operations, we are happy to say that our first year has been a success. And we look forward to more success stories in the years to come. We at the Brussels Airport will do everything we can to contribute to the goal of making Brussels the most convenient gateway into continental Europe.
To achieve this goal, we will focus on being cost competitive, having smooth operations and procedures, and maintaining good relationships with our partners and stakeholders. We will also be implementing several improvements to our processes: this year, for example, our airport customs is available 24 hours a day, improving the transit process for our customers.
Last but not least, we are working on establishing our airport as Europe’s pharmaceutical gateway. Pharma has always been important for the Belgian economy; the country is home to several production and distribution sites. With improved facilities and procedures, and by working together with various players in the airline industry as well as IATA, we are undoubtedly recognized as the leading airport when it comes to time and temperature-controlled cargo.
Two things stand as testament to our commitment and determination to succeed in pharmaceuticals: first, IATA invited us to speak on this topic at the IATA World Cargo Symposium in March 2014. Secondly, we are the only airport in the world to be part of the IATA Time and Temperature Task Force. We believe that Finnair Cargo’s cool product, Cool to Care, will help us create new, direct trade lanes between Brussels and several Asian airports, thanks to Finnair’s network.
Year one is now behind us. I am very much looking forward a bright and successful future – with as much fun as we had over the past year.