Today, Volga-Dnepr Group and Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG (MFAG), the company that manages Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expanding their strategic partnership at LEJ. The agreement is intended to boost cargo infrastructure development at the airport and establish LEJ as a multimodal hub for Volga-Dnepr’s scheduled and charter operations.
Under the agreement, the two companies will invest up to €500 million in LEJ’s “Cargo Hub Leipzig/Halle” facilities over the next few years. The investments will be used to develop new apron areas, logistics and office buildings in the northern and southern parts of LEJ.
Volga-Dnepr will also gradually increase both charter and scheduled operations to and from LEJ via regular and charter traffic of AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines – the carrier will fly 20 weekly flights to and from LEJ beginning at the end of 2021, and will gradually increase this number to 50 weekly flights by 2030.
Both companies also plan to cooperate in marketing and sales, as well as business and personnel development. Around 500 new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the companies’ agreement.
Speaking on the well-known issue of congestion and capacity issues at many European airports, Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG CEO Götz Ahmelmann said, “There are capacity bottlenecks in air traffic across Europe. [LEJ has] the capacity reserves that are urgently required.”
The new investments stemming from the MOU with Volga-Dnepr, combined with expansion plans pursued earlier by DHL and LEJ itself, will be used to expand cargo infrastructure at LEJ in support of growing volumes at the airport, according to MFAG. In 2018, LEJ handled over 1.2 million tonnes of cargo at a 7.3% increase compared to the year prior, and attained the rank of No. 23 on Air Cargo World’s Top 25 Airport list for the year.
For the airport, Volga-Dnepr’s activities will in turn provide lucrative business beyond that of DHL, which drives most of the growth in cargo volumes at LEJ.
This is not the first tie to LEJ on Volga-Dnepr’s part. Its affiliate carrier, CargoLogic Germany, is currently pursuing an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the German Civil Aviation authority, as reported by our sister site, Cargo Facts. That AOC has been held up for some time, so whether Volga-Dnepr’s increasing operations at LEJ, where CargoLogic Germany is based, help establish the carrier in Germany remains to be seen.