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Expansion of the Liège airport, Belgium

The airport of Liège is one of the fast-growing airports of Europe. It is focused on cargo flights and wants to grow at an exponential pace. One step is the agreement with Alibaba, that wants to start its first European distribution hub in Liège.


On 5 December 2018 an official agreement was made between the Airport of Liege and the Chinese online shopping platform Alibaba [1]. This company was founded in 1999 and is dominating e-commerce, its annual net income for 2021 was $22,9 billion US dollars which is an increase of 8,83% from 2020 [2]. This still growing group is investing in many subsidiaries that provide products like cloud computing, entertainment and artificial intelligence. The e-commerce is focused on people from all over the world and is reaching more and more people in Europe. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Expansion of the Liège airport, Belgium
State or province:Liège
Location of conflict:Grâce-Hollogne, Liège
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Alibaba plans to invest 100 million euros for the expansion of the Liège airport for their distribution hub. Which will take place up to 150.000m² and will create 900 direct and 2100 indirect jobs in the region of Liège.

Project area:15,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project100 million euros
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Around 250 thousand people being the local residents near the airport and by extension the city of Liège.
Start of the conflict:05/12/2018
Company names or state enterprises:Cainiao from China - Asking party for the airport extension
Liège airport from Belgium - Regulator flight transport both import/export
Alibaba Group from China
Relevant government actors:Charles Michel, Prime minister of belgium
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Watching Alibaba:
Stop Alibaba & Co front against the extention of Liège Airport:
Greenpeace Liège:
Attac Liège:
Les Dodos:
Extinction rebellion Liège:
Students for climate:
Liège pour le climat:
Liège sans pub:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:Stop the expansion of Liège airport and focus on an alternative economic model. One where there is a less prominent role for e-commerce and more interest in local commerce.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the growing movement against the expansion of the airport, no actions have been taken to listen or take in account the opinion of Environmental Justice movement.
Sources & Materials


AliExpress-pakjes sneller in Nederland door distributiecentrum Luik

05 december 2018
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[2] Alibaba Group Announces March Quarter and Full Fiscal Year 2021

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De megadeal met Alibaba die er geen is
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[5] Tegen de samenwerking van Alibaba op Liege Airport en de uitbreiding van de luchthaven
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[7] Ecommerce giant Alibaba opens ‘China’s smartest warehouse’
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[8] Flows - Alibaba toch naar Liege Airport, gesprek met FedEx volgt

Kasper Demol

30 nov 2018
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[9] Alibaba toch welkom op Luikse luchthaven
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[18] The Guardian - Open sesame: Alibaba's push into Europe a mixed blessing for Liège
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[19] 'Stop Alibaba & Co' vecht tegen komst internetreus naar Luik
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[10] Facebook Page Watching Alibaba
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Meta information
Last update24/03/2022
Conflict ID:5755
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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