Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is returning to Brussels Airport with 12 direct daytime freighter flights a week out of the Belgian airfreight hub, bound for Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

In late 2015, the African combination carrier was forced to switch services to Maastricht-Aachen after it was not able to obtain the necessary traffic rights to enable it to continue its activities at Brussels Airport. It now resume freighter flights from March 26.

In a statement, the airport said: “In recent weeks, the airport has been conducting intensive talks with the carrier about returning to Brussels Airport after the Federal Government had inked a new bilateral agreement with Ethiopia, enabling the carrier to undertake direct flights from Belgium to Dubai, Shanghai and Hong Kong.”

Brussels Airport Company’s chief executive, Arnaud Feist, said:“I am delighted that Ethiopian Airlines Cargo has decided to return to our airport. The carrier’s return is a highly positive development, not just for Brussels Airport but also for the Belgian economy as a whole.

“This move will not only see the reinstatement of the jobs that were lost with the air carrier’s withdrawal in November, it will also create many new jobs as Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is planning to more than double the number of flights a week out of Brussels Airport compared against last year.”

From January through October 2015, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo carried out four to six day-time flights a week to Dubai, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Although these flights still involved a stopover in Addis Ababa during the first few months, from August through to October Ethiopian Airlines Cargo was able to conduct these flights directly out of Brussels Airport thanks to traffic rights granted on a monthly basis.

Added the airport:”Since Ethiopian Airlines Cargo’s withdrawal, Brussels Airport stayed in touch with both the airline and the Belgian Federal Government.

“In the interests of the hundreds of employees who owed their jobs to Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, Brussels Airport had pleaded its case with the Federal Government to amend the bilateral agreement between the two countries to allow for direct flights to various key destinations in the Middle East and Asia.”

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