Freight Transport Association backs Heathrow expansion call
04 / 05 / 2016
The UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that a call by the Transport Committee to stop putting off the decision to expand Heathrow Airport echoes a request it made 12 months ago.
In a report published today, the committee backed expansion at Heathrow, following on from a similar call by the Airports Commission’s last July, and told the government it must make up its mind.
FTA says it has repeatedly asked Government to act as a matter of urgency and in May 2015, renewed its call on Government to look at increased airport capacity saying that a decision was needed sooner rather than later.
FTA chief executive David Wells also wrote to prime minister David Cameron highlighting the essential role of airfreight; particularly belly-hold freight in passenger aircraft; airfreight accounts for nearly 40% of UK imports and exports by value and employs 39,000 people, mostly clustered around Heathrow – the UK’s main airport hub.
FTA’s director of global and European policy, Chris Welsh, said: "FTA has been asking for a decision on additional airport capacity for a long time now. It is frustrating that we are still no further forward. This time last year we outlined the urgent need, but twelve months on, no decision has yet been made.
"Airport expansion and increased air cargo capacity is vital to the UK economy to help ensure that it remains competitive in the global air freight market."
In an earlier report, ‘Sky-high value – The importance of air freight to the UK economy’ published in March 2014, FTA said that the importance of air freight is overlooked.
Mr Welsh added: "Additional capacity at Heathrow is critical to allow importers and exporters to access new and emerging markets in Asia, South America and the Indian sub-continent. FTA urges the Government to take on board these recommendations and act quickly. Heathrow is critical for important sectors such as pharmaceuticals, high-end manufacturing and retailers."
FTA will meet with its Air Freight Working Group in London today to discuss the matter further.