Air, Feature, Freight News

East Midlands is vital lifeline

[ April 1, 2020   //   ]

East Midlands says it has continued to operate 60% of its scheduled flights during the COVID-19 crisis, more than any other major European Airport.

The latest European air traffic statistics, published by Eurocontrol, show that EMA has seen the smallest drop in flight numbers of any major airport in Europe over the last week, followed by Bergen, Stavanger and Cologne.

In the week immediately following the Government’s imposition of stricter social distancing measures on 16 March, the number of cargo aircraft movements increased by 10% at EMA. Across the two weeks to 29 March, cargo aircraft movements increased by an average of 7.4% a day.

The growth is due to a sudden need for more urgent medical and PPE equipment, including facemasks, more ad-hoc flights as EMA takes on additional capacity from other airports that are now closed at night, together with a reduction in long-haul passenger flights from other UK airports.

More people are shopping online and ordering goods for home delivery, many of them from overseas stockists.

Employees at the airport, alongside logistics giants DHL, UPS, FedEx and Royal Mail, have been designated as key workers by Government and are working around the clock to ensure next-day-deliveries for hospitals, shops and people isolated at home, handling over 1,000 tonnes a day.

East Midlands Airport’s managing director, Karen Smart, said: “It is at times like these when EMA really demonstrates its national value and shows how important airfreight is to keeping Britain moving. The airport is a vital lifeline for businesses that need to get products to market quickly, the NHS frontline, and those R&D companies that are working flat out to develop new medicines which can help combat crippling viruses such as Covid-19.”