July 24, 2020: On the night of July 23, a major fire broke out at Liege Airport in Belgium resulting into significant material damage, but flights have resumed this morning, airport authorities stated. There were no casualties reported. The cause of the fire is yet to be confirmed.
The incident comes within a couple of days after Ethiopian Airlines Cargo's B777-200F caught fire at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China, while loading cargo. Liege is also a cargo hub for Ethiopian Airlines.
Liege Airport, which mainly focuses on air freight is the largest in Belgium in terms of freight and one of the most important in Europe.
The fire broke out in the B30 facility situated between the passenger terminal and the refuelling area, as reported by Brussels Times. This facility houses the Aroservices and Western Global companies, consisting mainly of offices and equipment.
Flights were suspended for a time after the fire was discovered, with some incoming flights redirected. Three planes were diverted, including an ASL Airlines Belgium flight from Berlin and a Bluebird Nordic B737-400 that departed from Vienna. Both flights were able to land safely at Brussels Airport.
In recent months, it has become the central hub for the delivery to Belgium for materials related to the coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) chose the airport as a hub of distribution for medical supplies for Europe amid the pandemic.
Liege has been an important hub for the African airlines. Nairobi-based cargo airline Astral Aviation operates schedule flights from its Nairobi hub to Liege.
Meanwhile, ensuring the continuity of supply to Africa, Bollore Logistics from its Liege hub has started a special weekly cargo freight service between Europe and West Africa, the WARA AIR SERVICE.
In December 2018, Alibaba Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belgian federal government and the Walloon district government at Liege Airport, marking the first entry of the group's World Electronic Trading Platform (eWTP) into European markets.