ULD & PERISHABLES SUPPLEMENT~ Perishables a mixed blessing for Euro airports

Apart from attracting the business of an integrator, having a perishables centre seems to be something that all specialist cargo airports in Europe aspire to but success at filling these facilities can be elusive.

Typical of the specialist airports is Vatry, which has had a 4,200 square metre perishables centre ever since it opened in 2000. The airport touts its rapid handling times, and easy trucking links to major European wholesale markets such as Rungis nearParis.

But, admits communications manager Laurent Delarue, the only regular user of the facility at present is Avient, a UK-based carrier that operates ten DC- 10 freighter flights a week from Lagos and other West and Central African destinations. Still, he insists that the perishables centre is a good promotional tool for Vatry. "Not all airports have this, so it is a good way to attract carriers,"he says.

Mixed success for Vitoria Another all-cargo airport that has promoted its perishables facilities heavily is Vitoria in northern Spain. Its 4,000 sq metre temperature-controlled terminal handles around 28,000 tonnes of perishables, mainly fish, a year ¨C but these daysonly 4,000 tonnes of that is air freight.

In the early 2000s the figure was much higher, with Vitoria a regular stop for B747 freighter operators such Cargolux, British Airways, and South African Airways on the way back from Africa and South America. VIA, the promotion agency for the airport, also tried to develop other charter traffic from Canada and Africa.