Air, Freight News

FTA welcomes government aviation stance

[ July 21, 2017   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the Government’s newly-announced consultation on aviation strategy, saying that it shows that ministers recognise the importance of air cargo to the UK economy.

One of the themes of the Department for Transport’s call for evidence from stakeholders is global connections, which has huge relevance for freight. FTA had been pressing the Government for a speedy decision on a third runway in the south east and supports Heathrow’s expansion plan as the UK’s only truly global freight hub.

FTA’s head of air cargo policy, Alex Veitch, said: “FTA is delighted to see the key role of the air cargo sector recognised in the consultation paper. In 2015, goods worth around £160 billion were shipped by air between the UK and non-EU countries. Air was the only mode where exports were greater than imports. This represented over 40% of the UK’s extra-EU trade by value and shows the importance of aviation to our global trade. The report also acknowledges the importance of Heathrow to the air freight market, and its potential for growth was an important argument for supporting the proposed expansion there.”

Mr Veitch said the UK should be top of the league for international trade in all sectors – including air cargo – but was currently languishing mid-table. As the consultation document highlights, the UK is only 13th on the Air Trade Facilitation Index (ATFI) and 22nd on the eFreight Friendliness Index (EFFI), both of which are tables compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to measure the ease and efficiency of air freight processes across the world.

FTA will review the document in detail and discuss with members of its Air Freight Working Group before submitting a response to the Government.