FTA wants air cargo at centre of the UK’s aviation strategy

The UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the country’s government to place air cargo at the centre of its aviation strategy.

The UK government recently launched a consultation on its future aviation strategy and the FTA would like a dedicated freight chapter in white paper with a “clear and ambitious vision for airfreight”.

Alex Veitch, Head of Multimodal Policy at FTA, said: Airfreight represents around 40% by value of the UK’s imports and exports and its importance will only increase as the UK looks to supplement European trading opportunities with economies further afield after Brexit.

“As the body representing the interests of the logistics industry, FTA would like to see the government adopt a more ambitious stance to grow global trade; for example, by liberalising visa requirements for travelling business passengers.

“And while a third runway at Heathrow Airport is an essential step forward, FTA also needs to see freight growth at all other UK airports, for example by providing clearer direction to planning authorities that they should support industry to make best use of capacity. Failure to provide suitable freight capabilities will only mean bleak prospects for British businesses seeking new global markets.”

Veitch continued: “Surface access is a significant barrier to growth; FTA is also calling for the government to commission a new Airport Connectivity Study to highlight where transport links and freight parking facilities need to be improved and set a programme for action. Security should also be a priority and policies consistently implemented across Whitehall departments.

“Digitalisation is also crucial and while government support for industry initiatives is welcome, government should also review where in the supply chain they require paper documents and move these to digital.”

The FTA said it supports the ambition listed in the White Paper to improve air quality and tackle climate change, but would like to see greater engagement with the industry to ensure the government is aware of the steps already being taken in these areas.

“And while the proposals on noise level reduction are a useful starting point for debate, we would like to see further evidence and impact assessments given the strategic importance of this sector to the UK economy,” Veitch concluded.

The White Paper can be viewed here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/aviation-2050-the-future-of-uk-aviation

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