ARPC unveils €150 million plan to transform a French regional airport into an all-cargo hub
French logistics property developer APRC has unveiled a €150 million project to transform Albert Picardie Airport, near Amiens, into one of Europe’s leading all-cargo airports.
To date, the airport’s airfreight activity consisted of charter flights operated by Airbus’ fleet of Beluga freighters carrying aircraft parts manufactured at a nearby factory in St Nazaire, western France. France.
Jorge Hernandez, Director of Development and Managing Director of APRC Group, whose career has included stints at Geodis and FM Logistic, said: “One day I saw an Airbus Beluga fly over the Amazon warehouse in Boves. [near Amiens] and wondered where he landed. This is how I discovered Albert-Picardie airport.
“It is ideally located in the north of France, and within a radius of 300 km, we can reach 80 million of the wealthiest consumers in Europe. ”
APRC plans four logistics-related facilities at the airport, covering 140,000 square meters, including a business campus and a wide range of activities, including transport and distribution of industrial and consumer goods, express delivery /courier and door-to-door management services, total or partial chartering of aircraft, packaging solutions and customs clearance.
According to the planning permissions, construction work is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024, later than initially planned, “the delay being due to environmental problems being resolved”, explained Mr. Hernandez.
“We hope to recruit the first customers in late 2023/early 2024, with full construction of the project scheduled for 2025-2027, creating 600-800 direct jobs and 60-100 indirect jobs.”
The current length of the Albert Picardie runway is 2,200 meters, but the APRC project plans to increase it to 3,600 meters “to accommodate transcontinental aircraft”.
Asked if APRC was already in negotiations with potential customers such as airlines, 3PLs, freight forwarders, express integrators and e-commerce specialists, Mr Hernandez said: “We have received several letters of intent , but the process is subject to confidentiality, so we can say no more at this point.
However, a spokesperson for Kuehne + Nagel questioned Albert-Picardie Airport’s potential as an air cargo hub and said The Loadstar: “In our opinion, since the airport would only be for cargoes – with a return of hold capacity to Paris-CDG in a post-pandemic scenario – Albert-Picardie would be in competition with Liège and Maastricht, which are both more central compared to Europe’s largest populated regions.
“However, it would mainly serve the French market, and there the challenge would be to generate enough air freight volume to support the frequency programs.
“We believe it is unlikely that there will be strong demand for another ‘Liège-style’ all-cargo airport.