East Midlands Airport experiences cargo growth amid Covid-19 outbreak

By Rachelle Harry

East Midlands Airport

The UK’s East Midlands Airport (EMA) is continuing its operations to keep supply chains moving during the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport has revealed that in the week following the UK government’s imposement of social distancing measures (March 16), the number of cargo aircraft movements at EMA increased by 10%. Then, during the two weeks leading to March 29, cargo aircraft movements at EMA increased by an average of 7.4% per day.

This growth was driven by: a sudden need for medical equipment in the UK, including facemasks; incoming ad-hoc flights as EMA took on additional capacity from other airports closed or reduced their operations; incoming long-haul passenger flights originally destined for other UK airports, carrying passenger luggage and cargo; and a boost in e-commerce due to social distancing measures.

According to the latest European air traffic statistics from Eurocontrol, EMA experienced the smallest drop in flight numbers over the past week compared with other major airports in Europe.

EMA has revealed that employees at the airport, alongside logistics giants DHL, UPS, FedEx and Royal Mail, have been designated as key workers by the UK government and they are therefore are working around the clock, handling over 1,000 tonnes a day, to facilitate next-day-deliveries. 

Karen Smart, EMA’s managing director, commented: “East Midlands Airport is providing around the clock support to the fight back against Covid-19. It is at times like these when EMA really demonstrates its national value and shows how important airfreight is to keeping Britain moving.

“The airport is a vital lifeline for businesses that need to get products to market quickly, the NHS frontline, and research and development companies that are working flat out to develop new medicines which can help combat crippling viruses such as Covid-19.”

During the past two years, more than £200m has been invested into bespoke handling facilities at EMA, establishing it as the UK’s busiest airport for freighter aircraft.

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