Challenge Airlines BE: flying high since 2019
To meet challenges, being in the heart of the Golden Triangle, equidistant from the main European gateways such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris, with the United Kingdom also nearby, is an excellent starting point. Add to that the fact that Liège Airport is the largest cargo airport in Belgium, the fifth largest cargo airport in Europe, and is not limited by any night flight bans, it is clear that Challenge Airlines BE has a solid foundation for success. The ultimate USP, however, comes in the form of Challenge Handling and Challenge Logistics: with direct access to Challenge Group’s handling and road network subsidiaries operating from the same location, Challenge Airlines BE is in the unique position of to be able to offer a complete solution to its many international customers, door-to-door, if necessary.
“Challenge accepted! are not just words adorning our fleet, they are the motto of Challenge Group and the characteristic attitude of every employee of Challenge Airlines BE”, says Martin Scheffmann, Chief Operating Officer of Challenge Airlines BE. that we received our AOC less than a year before the start of the pandemic, Challenge Airlines BE had only opportunities to prove that we can move anything that needs to be moved – non-standard is our standard, as we like to say. And we differentiate ourselves from other carriers not only by our focus on complex cargo, but also by our attention to customer requirements. Since our fleet is owned by us, we are not driven by maximizing flight hours and can therefore offer our customers additional ground time to load and unload their complex, irregular or oversized shipments.
Challenge Airlines BE currently has a pool of around 100 pilots, available to fly its fleet of two Boeing 747 freighters: a 747-400BCF (OO-ACE) and a B747-400ERF (OO-ACF). The fleet is expected to double in size later this year when two more Boeing 747s are reassigned from Challenge Airlines IL. A letter of intent is also in place for a fifth Boeing 747 in the future.
The airline received its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Belgian CAA in April 2019 and began operating in May 2019. In July 2019, it obtained the USA OPS SPEC from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allowing it to also serve the United States and, in September 2020, the China OPS SPEC was authorized, also expanding the reach of its network to China. Today, Challenge Airlines BE operates approximately 36 flights per week. Although some of these are charters (mainly to destinations in China), it also offers free sales on its routes to Sharjah, Tel Aviv, Wuhan and the United States. These capacities are managed by the Group’s commercial entity, Challenge Air Cargo. Challenge Airlines BE had a record year in 2021 and is expected to outperform again in 2022.