Freight Transport Assn writes to David Cameron to push importance of hub for air cargo
The Freight Transport Association’s CEO has written to the Prime Minister, to say “the decline of Heathrow [presumably if a Gatwick runway was built] as a viable global cargo hub will increase the costs of freight and logistics across the UK.” He said the importance of air freight should not be overlooked when considering the options for creating new airport capacity in south east England, and outlined the importance of a UK global hub airport. Air freight makes up 40% of UK air cargo by value, but far less by weight. The FTA is “concerned that the importance of air freight is being overlooked.” 80% of freight at Heathrow is carried in the holds of scheduled passenger aircraft. In 2014 Heathrow moved almost 1.5 million tonnes of freight. The FTA wants expansion at Heathrow, and says “Gatwick does not possess the infrastructure to handle the volumes of cargo required.” The FTA says the Government’s decision on a runway should not be based solely on passenger considerations and “passengers are not the sole users of these flights nor the only beneficiaries of the wider choice of routes.”
FTA (Freight Transport Association) reinforces importance of UK global hub airport to Prime Minister
2.6.2015 (Freight Transport Association)
“On behalf of FTA’s members I have written to the Prime Minister telling him that the decline of Heathrow as a viable global cargo hub will increase the costs of freight and logistics across the UK.”
David Wells, FTA’s Chief Executive
The Freight Transport Association has told David Cameron that the importance of air freight should not be overlooked when considering the options for creating new airport capacity in south east England, and outlined the importance of a UK global hub airport.
In a letter to the Prime Minister – sent today (2 June), FTA’s Chief Executive – David Wells, outlined the essential work of air freight which represents over 40% of UK imports and exports by value, and plays a crucial role in the supply chains of many UK businesses.
Mr Wells said:
“FTA is concerned that the importance of air freight is being overlooked. It is a common misconception that air cargo is a minor traffic used only for very high value or urgent items. In actual fact, 80 per cent of freight is carried in the holds of scheduled passenger aircraft using Heathrow airport.”
FTA’s ‘Sky-High Value’ report illustrates that Heathrow is a critical hub for air cargo; it offers 191 destinations, moves 1.5 million tonnes of freight and is vital for UK connectivity to its main overseas markets. Heathrow is currently operating at 98% capacity and needs to be able to expand to meet the needs of industry.
David Wells added:
“On behalf of FTA’s members I have written to the Prime Minister telling him that the decline of Heathrow as a viable global cargo hub will increase the costs of freight and logistics across the UK. Gatwick does not possess the infrastructure to handle the volumes of cargo required.”
A final recommendation on where expansion should take place is scheduled to be issued later this year by the Airports Commission – led by Sir Howard Davies. The options include a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, or a second runway at Gatwick.
Mr Wells also stated that the Government decision should not be based solely on passenger considerations.
“We accept the factors driving demand for new airport capacity and the forecast growth in passengers wishing to travel. However, passengers are not the sole users of these flights nor the only beneficiaries of the wider choice of routes. Whereas passengers could be persuaded to use a different airport, the diminution of Heathrow as an international air cargo hub favours neither the country nor the economy.”
Air pollution around airports is a serious concern. Much of the NO2 and the particulates come from diesel engines, and the levels are increased by lorries. All freight to be shipped by air would travel to and from the airport in diesel vehicles.
Earlier articles by the FTA:
Air cargo is crucial to airport capacity debate – FTA reiterates message to Airports Commission
“FTA would like to emphasise to the Airports Commission that air cargo is vitally important to British businesses as importers and exporters, and is a key enabler for growth and the future success of the UK economy.”
Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director – Global and European Policy
As the Airports Commission has said “no decision has been made regarding the best option of a new airport runway in south England” the Freight Transport Association has once again reiterated its message that “air cargo is crucial to the UK economy.”
The Airports Commission today (11 November) published an assessment of the three airport expansion options on its shortlist:
• A new 3,500-metre runway at Heathrow Airport in west London
• An extension of the existing northern runway at Heathrow in a plan put forward by Heathrow Hub, a consortium that includes former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe
• A new runway at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex
Chairman of the Commission, Sir Howard Davies said:
“Since our interim report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work. We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity.”
FTA has previously outlined the importance of air cargo to the freight and logistics industry by writing to Sir Howard Davies, following the interim report in March 2014, and has once again voiced its thoughts today.
FTA’s Director – Global and European Policy, Chris Welsh said:
“FTA would like to emphasise to the Airports Commission that air cargo is vitally important to British businesses as importers and exporters, and is a key enabler for growth and the future success of the UK economy. We believe that London, as the UK hub for freight, is exceptionally important and that this should be recognised alongside passenger traffic. The wider range of services that can be attracted by a major hub with transfer flights makes London the major freight hub for industry. It is critical for UK industry that new services are developed to emerging markets as this is where Heathrow is already falling behind competitors due to lack of capacity.”
The Airports Commission stated that responses to this consultation will be a valuable addition to its evidence base and will directly inform its recommendation to the Government when it publishes its final report in the summer of 2015.
FTA stated that it welcomed the thorough nature of the investigation to ensure that the solutions proposed are implemented for the long-term benefit of the UK, and added that the recognition of the need for additional airport capacity in the south east was also welcome. The Association also stated that it was essential that any future capacity strengthens the existing hub base of the south east of England. This additional capacity would bring not only benefits to the south east of England but to Britain as a whole through enhanced connectivity to the UK’s key overseas markets.
The FTA-commissioned report ‘Sky High Value – The importance of air freight to the UK economy’ was launched in March 2014; the report reflected FTA’s contribution to the Commission’s work and, importantly, raised the importance of air freight in the debate, which had previously focused on passenger and business travel.
Heathrow yes – but we need a decision on future capacity now, says FTA
“FTA is always open to the possibility of an airport elsewhere in the future, but Heathrow is our main hub airport now, and as it is full, the need for a third runway is obvious.”
Chris Welsh, FTA’s General Manager of Global and European Policy
Responding to Heathrow Airport’s report ‘Heathrow – a new approach’ which details its plans for expansion, published today (Wednesday 17 July), the Freight Transport Association has said that a third runway is badly needed but an ‘accelerated decision’ on enhanced airport capacity to meet existing and future air freight requirements that serve our international trade needs to be made sooner rather than later, and stalling on that decision is detrimental to the UK economy.
Heathrow has submitted new runway proposals to the Airports Commission stating that it will deliver the long-term capacity and connections that the UK economy urgently needs. Recognised in the document is the importance of air freight, pointing out its wider economic benefits to the economy, particularly from international trade and inward investment to the UK, productivity and agglomeration, estimating the effects of a third runway ranging between £32-£137 billion.
Previously (January 2013) FTA had submitted evidence to the Transport Committee regarding the expansion capacity at Heathrow, stating that it was essential to maintain London’s international hub status, keeping UK goods and passengers connected to scores of global destinations and thereby supporting UK trade.
FTA believes that aviation policy can only be effective if freight issues are given full consideration, particularly given that freight carried on board passenger aircraft in many cases makes international airline routes more viable, and that logistics is a vital component of the UK’s route network and overall economy both as an employer and in terms of the economic activity reliant on it.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s General Manager of Global and European Policy, said:
“FTA is always open to the possibility of an airport elsewhere in the future, but Heathrow is our main hub airport now, and as it is full, the need for a third runway is obvious, and we are therefore pleased to welcome the proposal for enhanced investment in capacity by Heathrow. We recognise that in a market led economy it is investors who take the investment risks based on a range of criteria, including customer preferences and obtaining a return on capital investment. For air freight across the UK, maintaining and enhancing our main air freight is vital to the UK economy.
“So much economic activity relies upon air freight across the UK, it is critical to economic recovery that the nation can demonstrate it is open for business with a smooth and reliable journey from our international gateways.
“FTA is concerned about stalling on the decision as to where and when the extra capacity for air freight is going to be accommodated, and feels strongly that an accelerated process is needed in order to make the decision sooner rather than later.”