After two difficult crisis years, Brussels Airport is starting a new chapter with a new strategy for the coming five years. A strategy focusing on clear priorities and addressing the challenges of today. With SHIFT 2027, and the tag line "Wider horizons, sustainable ambitions", Brussels Airport Company wants to further strengthen its position as a major European hub, ambitiously focus on sustainability and diversify its activities, with a clear commitment to innovation and partnership.
Due to the Covid crisis, aviation has already been through two turbulent years. The recovery of passenger traffic takes time, and business travel in particular has declined, while the demand for air cargo is higher than ever. These evolutions, in a context where climate challenges are significant and sustainable aviation is more important than ever for Brussels Airport, formed the basis for developing the new strategy.
"With this new strategy for Brussels Airport, we are ready for the challenges of the future. Connecting people, businesses and communities remains central in our vision and offering the best possible service as a hub is at the heart of everything we do. But everything we do will be done with an even stronger focus on sustainability. That will be further embedded in our DNA and in this field we want to be a pioneer in our sector. In addition, we are looking at new opportunities and partnerships that fit with our core business, with a focus on innovative solutions and new technologies. In this way, we want to further strengthen the socio-economic and connecting role that we have as an economic centre and employment engine.”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.
Within the new strategy of Brussels Airport, sustainability remains an important strategic priority. If aviation wants a future, it must be sustainable and sustainability is therefore at the core of everything we do. Brussels Airport Company has already been CO2-neutral for its activities since 2018 and is working on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Within the European Stargate project with Brussels Airport as project leader, many concrete initiatives for greening aviation will be taken in the coming five years. For example, we are working on the implementation of sustainable aviation fuels and electric ground handling material. Next to that, the expansion of the public transport and the further differentiation of the airport tariffs based on emissions and noise contribute to our sustainability ambitions as well. Energy efficiency and green energy are prioritised with every construction project, and we work following the principles of circular economy. Brussels Airport wants to take the lead in sustainability in the aviation sector and make it greener from within.
The next priority is hub performance, Brussels Airport wants to grow as a hub and perform even better. Offering an optimal service and a strong network of destinations for all customers, both passengers and cargo clients, remains a priority. Brussels Airport is not only a passenger airport but also a fast-growing cargo hub and the most important pharma hub in Europe. In the past year, the airport has seen a record growth for cargo and Brussels Airport wants to strengthen that role even further, for example by further developing the cargo zone and continuing to focus on digitisation. In the coming years, there will be major investments in the development of our cargo zone through renovations and new buildings to meet the large demand for logistics buildings and storage capacity.
But hub performance is not only about the role of Brussels Airport as hub for air travel, but also about the role of the airport as an intermodal hub. We want to continue to stimulate and strengthen multimodal and public transport. That is why we are looking at ways in which the various forms of transport can better interconnect with each other and how we can expand the range of public transport to and from the airport. This does not only involve the current offer of trains and busses, but also the tram to the airport, expected in a few years, and we will also be adding additional shuttle bus connections with several cities in Belgium and just over the border. These are initiatives that not only strengthen intermodality, but also contribute to our sustainability ambitions.
Finally, Brussels Airport has been more than an airport for some time now, which is why diversification is also a strategic priority, with a focus on innovation, partnerships and the further development of the airport ecosystem. In terms of real estate, there are the developments in the cargo zone, but in addition to that, Brussels Airport wants to continue to develop the airport ecosystem as a fully connected economic centre, an Airport Business District. The architectural study for the realisation of an additional office building, a new hotel and a new intermodal hub will shortly start. The further commercialisation of the event venue Skyhall, which offers a unique location for conferences and events, and the planned refurbishment of the Sheraton Hotel also contribute to the development of an Airport Business District. Next to that, diversification also includes initiatives such as Airport Intelligence, the consultancy subsidiary of Brussels Airport that shares its operational and commercial knowledge with other airports and companies, and investments in drone projects and technology and other innovations.
With this SHIFT 2027, Brussels Airport Company is looking towards the future with ambition! The Covid crisis had a major impact on aviation, but it has also more than ever confirmed the position and the importance of the airport and its connectivity. With these strategic choices, Brussels Airport is starting a new chapter towards a sustainable future for the airport.