Air, Freight News

Invest to keep Belfast airport in the game, says FTA

[ November 9, 2015   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is lobbying MPs to back plans for an enterprise zone and road improvements at Belfast International Airport – the third largest handler of air freight in the UK outside of London – to prevent it losing ground to its competitors. Rapid growth at Dublin Airport threatens to challenge its long-term future, says FTA.
FTA has written to MPs and members of the Northern ireland Assembly calling for the development of an Enterprise Zone to stimulate investment and road upgrades to improve access.
Passengers at Dublin Airport increased from 500,000 in 2013 to 864,000 in 2014 and its continued growth could affect BIA’s ability to attract long-haul flights, limiting its belly-hold freight operations. BIA is Northern Ireland’s only air cargo facility but operators could switch to Dublin if it becomes a cheaper option.
FTA’s Northern Ireland Manager, Seamus Leheny, pointed out that millions are being spent on attracting and retaining investment in high-end manufacturing such as pharmaceuticals and aircraft parts, which all rely on air freight in their supply chain. “Urgent action is needed to ensure Belfast International Airport is an attractive prospect for investors and has the necessary infrastructure to support efficient air freight operations. Road improvements and the development of an Enterprise Zone would help achieve this aim.”
Mr Leheny said: “As a designated Enterprise Zone BIA could offer a range of financial incentives for businesses like those in place at Manchester Airport, which was the first in the UK to develop an ‘airport city’. FTA is calling on MPs to support BIA’s proposals to help sustain its long-term future.”