Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) has shifted its cargo operations from Brussels National, Belgium, to Maastricht, Netherlands with effect from November 1.

The move follows a delay in the Belgian government's response to Ethiopian's request for an extension of 5th Freedom traffic rights for onward flights to Dubai World Central, Hong Kong Int'l and Shanghai Pudong. Local carrier TNT Airways (3V, Liège) and Liege Airport had strongly opposed the renewal, done on a monthly basis, on the grounds that the destinations were not covered by Belgium's Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Ethiopia.

As Ethiopian Cargo's flights are operated in collaboration with rival DHL Express, TNT fears the added competition may impact its take-over by FedEx. TNT serves the same destinations as Ethiopian Cargo albeit from its Liège hub.

As such, Ethiopian Cargo will serve Maastricht with 6 weekly flights of which two will stopover in Dubai, one will continue to Addis Ababa, and two will operate from Maastricht to Shanghai. Operations are on-board B777-F equipment.