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Airfreight is overlooked essential, says FTA

[ March 20, 2014   //   ]

The value air freight to the UK economy is overlooked, says the Freight Transport Association in a commissioned report, ‘Sky-high value – The importance of air freight to the UK economy’ published on 20 March.
It says that continued investment in airport capacity is essential to its growth and success.
In it, FTA’s director of global and european policy, Chris Welsh, says that it is imperative that the UK has a single air freight hub, namely Heathrow. He describes it as “an essential hub of connectivity for passengers and freight, bringing together huge resource, expertise and opportunity in one place.”
Some 95% of air cargo is carried in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft; air freight accounts for nearly 40% of UK imports and exports by value and employs 39,000 people, most clustered around Heathrow. It is critical for important sectors such as pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing and retailers.

Air freight may seem an expensive and environmentally challenging way to ship goods, but for many high-value and high-end goods it is either the best or only way to transport them – and in some cases, not only is it the safest and most secure form of freight transport, it is also the most cost-effective.
FTA supports Sir Howard Davies’ interim conclusions in the Airports Commission inquiry on airport capacity, which makes an unequivocal case for additional capacity to meet the needs of British industry as importers and exporters in the nation’s overseas markets.  It believes, however, that the importance of the hub concept is not only better understood but is given further consideration by the Airports Commission as it continues its work.
Welsh adds: “This FTA report illustrates the requirement for additional capacity to meet existing needs but also to be able to access new emerging markets and economies in Asia, South America and the Indian sub-continent. We support the case for investment in Heathrow and existing airports, including regional airports and in potential new airport sites.”
Welcoming the report, Heathrow’s corporate affairs director, Clare Harbord, adds: “This is an extremely valuable piece of work by the FTA.  It shows the importance of Heathrow to the freight industry as well as the vital role air freight plays for the UK economy. Both the FTA and Heathrow firmly believe that building on the strength we already have at Heathrow is the best way to deliver the new aviation capacity Britain so desperately needs.”

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