Air, Freight News

Hub is the nub of airports debate – FTA

[ November 11, 2014   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) reiterated its message that “air cargo is crucial to the UK economy” on 11 November, as the Airports Commission published its interim report on runway capacity in south-east England. The Commissiont did not make any recommendations – none are expected until it produces its final report in summer 2015, after the election – but it did state that the cost of the three options now on the table had been significantly under-estimated.

With plans for a ‘Boris Island’ airport in the Thames Estuary already ruled out, the shortlisted plans are for a new 3,500-metre runway at Heathrow; extension of the existing northern runway at Heathrow in a plan put forward by Heathrow Hub; or a new runway at Gatwick.

FTA has previously outlined the importance of air cargo to the freight and logistics industry by writing to commission chairman Sir Howard Davies, following the interim report in March 2014.
FTA’s director of global and European policy, Chris Welsh said: “We believe that London, as the UK hub for freight, is exceptionally important and that this should be recognised alongside passenger traffic. The wider range of services that can be attracted by a major hub with transfer flights makes London the major freight hub for industry. It is critical for UK industry that new services are developed to emerging markets as this is where Heathrow is already falling behind competitors due to lack of capacity.”
FTA welcomed the thorough nature of the investigation to ensure that the solutions proposed are implemented for the long-term benefit of the UK, and added that the recognition of the need for additional airport capacity in the south east was also welcome. It added that it was essential that any future capacity strengthens the existing hub base of the south east of England.  This additional capacity would bring not only benefits to the south east of England but to Britain as a whole through enhanced connectivity to the UK’s key overseas markets.

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