East Midlands Airport expands space for freighters

East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport (EMA) is expanding the apron space for freighter aircraft as the UK cargo hub prepares for increased volumes driven by the e-commerce boom.

The airport, whose freighter airline customers include Fed Ex/TNT, UPS and Royal Mail, is improving its infrastructure so that aircraft can load and unload more efficiently at busy times.

Over 365,000 tonnes of goods fly in and out of EMA each year. At its peak, one million individual parcels and letters are handled at the airport each night, while £10bn of goods to and from non-European Union (EU) countries fly through EMA each year.

Freighters currently use the east apron, a large concrete area at the M1 motorway end of the airfield. This is being widened to allow up to four more aircraft to be parked at any one time.
Also, at the east side of the airport, the new facility for US parcels giant UPS is rapidly taking shape. The £114m development will double the size of the UPS operation at EMA.

An airport spokesperson said: “The 10% year-on-year growth in cargo volume at EMA is being driven largely by people’s changing shopping habits.

“Cargo operators on-site that handle goods going to and from countries all over the world are primarily serving the express freight/next-day-delivery market. This is in response to more people shopping online ordering goods ranging from electronic items to clothes.”

Over the next six months, airport bosses will unveil a new business plan to realise the “significant potential” arising from the growth in e-commerce which will outline further investment priorities.

Karen Smart, EMA’s managing director, said: “A successful and growing economy leads to an increase in demand for air services, both passenger and cargo. As the UK’s second largest cargo airport after Heathrow and the UK’s number one for dedicated air cargo traffic, we are an important national asset.

“Each year an estimated £50bn of UK imports and exports are handled at EMA, much of which is serviced by express operators who offer a next-day service to destinations across the world.

“Because we make an important economic contribution to the UK, continued investment in our infrastructure is key to facilitate regional and national economic growth and the attractiveness of this region because of its global connectivity.”

The apron expansion work is being carried out by contractor Galliford Try which has also delivered many of the main infrastructure improvement projects at EMA, most notably the runway resurfacing project over two years ago and the central (passenger) apron improvements carried out during spring and winter in 2018.

Karen Smart, EMA’s managing director

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