Denmark’s Billund Airport to double cargo capacity

Billund Airport is to significantly increase its capacity for cargo freight after reaching an agreement for investment, it said on Monday.

An illustration of how Billund Airport could look in 2040
An illustration of how Billund Airport could look in 2040. The red and blue buildings are additions to the current airport. No plans are final. Photo: Billund Airport press release

A deal between the Jutland airport and pensions firm PensionDanmark provides the basis for an extension of Billund to handle more cargo freight, it said in a statement.

The investment has a value in the billions of kroner, according to its two partners. The money will be spent building hangars, offices and logistics and storage facilities.

The partners to the agreement say their ambition is to double the capacity of cargo transit through Billund from 77,000 tonnes of goods annually to 160,000 tonnes in 2040.

“We expect to more than double the quantity of air cargo, so the partnership with PensionDanmark clearly marks a historic milestone for the airport,” Billund Airport CEO Jan Hessellund said.

Billund is already in talks with several companies interested in making use of new facilities in the future, according to the CEO.

Maersk Air Cargo, the cargo airline subsidiary of Danish shipping giant Maersk, recently chose Billund as its European air freight hub.

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Scandinavian airline SAS passenger numbers ‘highest since pandemic’

The number of passengers who flew with Scandinavian airline SAS in April was far higher than during the same month in 2021.

Scandinavian airline SAS passenger numbers 'highest since pandemic'

Over 1.5 million flew with SAS last month, around four times as many as in April 2020 when Covid-19 restrictions were still in broad effect.

SAS still has some way to go to return to the number of passengers it registered before spring 2020, the “pre-pandemic” period for the hard-hit industry.

The airline was affected by a pilots’ strike in April 2019 which affected results for that month, but 2.5 million people flew with SAS in April 2018, demonstrating how the airline is still lagging behind earlier years despite the apparent recovery.

“We continue the ramp-up and see the highest number of passengers since March 2020,” president and CEO of SAS Anko van der Werff said in a press statement.

“Looking forward, sales and booking trends are positive for the summer period ahead,” he added.

SAS’ capacity in April was around two-thirds of its capacity in 2018.

“SAS is a bit more restrained in increasing its capacity than many of its competitors,” aviation sector analyst Jacob Pedersen of Sydbank told news wire Ritzau.

The company faces a challenge to make as much profit from its services as it did before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Pedersen.

“The snapshot image of the trend in April is certainly encouraging but a closer analysis gives less cause for encouragement,” he said.