THE importance of the UK’s airfreight business is in danger of being overlooked, warns the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
In a report called ‘Sky-high value – the importance of airfreight to the UK
economy’ report, the association calls for renewed investment in capacity and infrastructure, which is is essential for trade growth and future success.
The air cargo industry
is critical for important business sectors such as pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing and retailers, it notes.
Lack of investment will lead to congestion and a shortage of essential tools to assist exporters and importers.
Heathrow is currently operating at 98 per cent capacity and needs to be able to expand to meet the needs of industry.
Stressing the requirement for additional capacity, the FTA supports the case for further investment in Heathrow and other existing airports, and in potential new airport sites.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s director of global and European policy states: “It is imperative that the UK has a single airfreight hub. Heathrow fulfils that role and is an essential hub of connectivity for passengers and freight, bringing together huge resource, expertise and opportunity in one place.”
Airfreight accounts for nearly 40 per cent of UK imports and exports by value and employs some 39,000 people, most clustered around Heathrow.
The FTA report reflects that airfreight is not only the safest and most secure form of freight transport but, for some companies, it is also the most cost-effective.