CMA CGM’s new cargo airline CMA CGM AIR CARGO announced via social media on Friday that it would be operating two new routes from Liege, Belgium, to Atlanta and New York from Sunday, March 28, 2021. This news comes fast on the heels of the launch of its first route between Liège Airport (LGG) and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), which commenced flights just over two weeks ago.
The aircraft, registration number OO-AIR, is the second of four used Airbus A330-200F aircraft that CMA CGM AIR CARGO plans to use on routes between the former industrial powerhouse and the United States. After seeing a surge in demand for air cargo and the logistics required to ship the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, CMA CGM AIR CARGO purchased the aircraft from Qatar Airways Cargo.
The planes are from Qatar Airways Cargo
Wanting to strike while the iron is hot, Marseille, France-headquartered CMA CGM AIR CARGO opted to buy four used Airbus A330-200F aircraft from Qatar Airways Cargo. The Gulf carrier had already earmarked the retirement of its four remaining A330-200F to make way for the arrival of new Boeing 777 freighters from Boeing’s Everett factory in Washington.
CMA CGM AIR CARGO is airbone, part 2!
— CMA CGM Group (@cmacgm) March 26, 2021
With the Boeing 777Fs arriving in January 2021, the timing was perfect for CMA CGM’s new Liege-based cargo airline launch. According to the aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net, the four 60-tonne-payload Airbus A330-200F freighter aircraft are relatively young, with an average age of 5.7 years.
When speaking about why the container shipping giant had decided to get into the air freight business, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group Rodolphe Saadé said the following in a company statement released on February 12, 2021:
“In response to the growing demand from our customers for agile logistics solutions, we are creating a new division within the CMA CGM Group dedicated to air transport: CMA CGM Air Cargo. This division will launch with four Airbus A330-200F aircraft and will leverage commercial partnerships with airlines in order to deliver global coverage. This is a major milestone in the development of our logistics services.”
Air Belgium will operate the planes
In another move designed to get the airline flying as soon as possible, CMA CGM decided to partner with Air Belgium and operate its aircraft under Air Belgiums’ Air Operators Certificate (AOC) rather than wait to get an AOC of its own.
With ORD taking care of the distribution and logistics of goods arriving in the midwestern United States, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will take care of the northeast. At the same time, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) will be the south’s gateway.
Why Liege Airport?
Liege Airport is strategically located at the heart of the Amsterdam-Paris-Frankfurt golden triangle, one of the busiest business districts in all of Europe. Located less than a day’s drive from most of Europe’s major cities, Liege Airport is easily accessed by a superb uncongested motorway network.
It is primarily set up to operate as a cargo airport. Altogether, Liege airport handles 73% of all European air freight by offering the facilities and prices that other airports can’t match.
What route do you think CMA CGM AIR CARGO will deploy its fourth A330-200F on? Please tell us what you think in the comments.