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Arnaud Feist PEOPLE


PEOPLE Three questions for...


...Arnaud Feist, CEO, Brussels Airport Company


1


How has Brussels Airport evolved over the past year?


Brussels Airport is going


through a record-breaking year. Each month in 2017 we have handled more passengers than in the corresponding month of our previous record year, 2015. This culminated in July when we broke three records: the best month in the airport’s history, the busiest day with more than 94,000 passengers and recording 24.2 million passengers in the rolling year. I am also confident we will set a new passenger record for the year. We have also announced several


new routes, including Toronto and Mumbai operated by Brussels Airlines. An extra weekly flight to the Mumbai route has already been added despite only launching on March 30. Emirates also launched a double-daily flight to Dubai and a direct Hainan Airlines flight to Shanghai is now operating three times a week. New airlines include WOW air, RwandAir and Qeshm Air. All this demonstrates Brussels’ success both as a hub and in handling point-to-point traffic. It is also even more of an achievement in the wake of the


terrorist attack on the airport in March 2016.


2


What are your key objectives for World Routes 2017?


Our team has scheduled more than 60 airline meetings. Our key objective is to grow our long haul network with Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Delhi, San Francisco, Boston, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg all on the radar. We will also work closely with existing customer airlines to grow their passenger traffic at Brussels Airport. Our message is threefold. First, Brussels, Belgium and bordering areas of southern Netherlands and northern France offer one of Europe’s densest and wealthiest catchment areas less than 90 minutes’ drive from the airport. Second, inbound traffic is heavily business oriented, with Brussels being home to NATO and multinationals including AB InBev, Delhaize Group or Solvay. Nearby Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port and the world’s diamond capital. Inbound traffic is also strongly leisure oriented, with tourists visiting cities including Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. Finally, Brussels Airport offers one of the best hubs in Europe with one terminal, two concourses, three runways and lower aeronautical charges and better incentives than many other hub airports. The presence of our home carrier Brussels Airlines as the most western European Star Alliance carrier guarantees smooth connections to its successful long haul partners Air Canada, United Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Thai Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. And just as important, we offer our airline partners at World Routes in Barcelona a friendly and relaxing atmosphere to wind down during three very busy days. The popular Brussels Airport stand in the exhibition area will reflect the world famous Belgian hospitality with a wide choice of Belgian speciality beers each afternoon!


3


Best and worst parts of the job?


When I step into my office, I have a stunning view of the airport


operations and even after 12 years I still find it impressive. As a growing business we also have new projects on the go and new situations to adapt to. While this creates lots of opportunities to innovate we need to have a lot of energy and commitment to make quick decisions. Sometimes it would be nice to have a bit more time. It also means the office never closes while being permanently available is not always easy on my private life. As a high profile company and business we help drive success for people, companies and our nation’s economy. Knowing I am contributing to a higher goal than just my company’s bottom line motivates me. Also everything we do gets noticed and it’s rewarding to be appreciated for the airport’s successes. However, when something goes wrong – even a small thing, we are front-page news. An airport like ours has many


stakeholders and we interact with all of them. It is very time and energy consuming, but personally enriching as we try to bring people and businesses together.


Brussels’ inbound traffic is heavily business oriented, despite the wealth of cultural attractions


routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2017 ISSUE 5 135


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