Cargo booms at UK’s East Midlands Airport

Air cargo business is booming at East Midlands Airport. Copyright: East Midlands Airport

Growing e-commerce demand coupled with container shipping congestion and cost is driving growth in air cargo at East Midlands Airport (EMA).

EMA said that in addition to supporting e-commerce, accommodating a shift from sea to air and aiding just-in-time supply chains across the UK, a lack of bellyhold capacity for goods on passenger planes means its cargo operation is in more demand than ever before.

EMA said based on current trends it predicts that by the end of the financial year 470,000 tonnes of goods will have been handled at EMA compared with 438,000 tonnes last year, and 370,000 tonnes pre-pandemic.

On December 9, UK Government aviation minister, Robert Courts MP visited the EMA cargo operation as the airport prepares for what it anticipates will be a record-breaking festive freight operation.

Courts said: “Over the past eighteen months, airfreight has played a vital role in keeping the country’s medical and PPE supplies moving.

“Having spent time on the East Midlands Airport airfield on one of its busiest nights, it’s clear to see why the airport’s 24-hour operation is such a key facilitator of UK trade. The importance of this regional airport is also hugely beneficial in terms of local economic growth and job creation.”

While at the airport, the aviation minister also spent time with EMA-based RVL Aviation, which operates a specialist aircraft on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The autumn is the airport’s ‘peak season’ for cargo, when a surge in demand is driven by Black Friday and Christmas. Fast movement of goods also continues to be key to shift time-critical medical supplies around the world.

East Midlands Airport’s managing director, Clare James, added: “At times, during the pandemic, East Midlands Airport was the tenth busiest in Europe as it remained open for business to allow the frictionless movement of goods including critical medical supplies and PPE during lockdown. EMA’s role as a global gateway for trade is central to the region’s Freeport bid, the final business case for which is submitted to Government next month.”

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]