CBI: air freight’s vital role for UK business

UK business chiefs have called for “urgent action” by politicians to make key decisions on future UK airport infrastructure for passenger and cargo.
“Action is needed to boost the UK’s air links and put growth on a sustainable long-term footing,” according to a new report by the CBI, which represents 190,000 UK businesses.
But these decisions “do not have to come at the expense of environmental commitments,” says the CBI’s Flying High document.
The report states: “Currently, international air freight is responsible for ensuring that £11 billion of UK exports each year make it to foreign shores. What’s more, with the UK increasingly looking to economies further afield for opportunities, such services will only become more crucial.
“We already ship nearly 40 per cent of our goods by value using air freight, and with 80 per cent of UK businesses expecting their spending on these services to increase in the future, estimates suggest a seven-fold rise by 2050.”
The CBI believes that investments made by the aerospace and aviation industries in new technology are already having an impact on noise and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Noise is currently in decline at the UK’s major airports, while new aircraft are as much as four times more fuel-efficient than their equivalent in the 1960s.”
Nicola Walker, CBI director for business environment, said: “The wealth of evidence, both in the Airports Commission’s interim review and this report, highlights that further aviation capacity can be built while continuing to meet our obligations to communities and the environment. Politicians now need to commit to deliver the upgrades we need at airports across the country.”
Flying High comes as the UK government awaits the findings of the Airports Commission’s final report on new runway capacity in the south-east, due to be published in 2015.
The Freight Transport Association, representing UK shippers, has already published its own "Sky-high value" research document on the importance of air freight to the economy.
The debate over UK airport capacity is at a critical stage. Heathrow and Gatwick airports have rival proposals for increased runway expansion, while the mayor of London is promoting plans for a four runway airport, built to the east of capital.

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