Air cargo tonnage at Heathrow falling recently, and only 1.76% higher in 2014 than in 2010

Heathrow airport is keen to stress that it deals with more air freight than any other UK airport, and imply that without its air cargo exports (ignoring the imports) the economy of the UK would flounder. However, in recent years, the volume of Heathrow air cargo has been pretty much static. There was 1.76% more air cargo (tonnes) in 2014 than in 2010.  In September 2010 Heathrow handled 123,680 tonnes, and in September 2015 it handled 119.092 tonnes. In October 2010 it handled 138,301 tonnes and 132,575 tonnes in October 2015. Tonnage has been down compared to 2014 every month since May. Earlier in November, John Holland-Kaye said: “Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport.” In early November  Heathrow announced £180m investment in inprove air cargo facilities and double the volume passing through Heathrow. The aspiration is that faster more efficient cargo movements will encourage airlines to increase freight capacity, boosting the UK’s global export competitiveness.  And imports ??  Holland-Kays says this will “support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.” Air cargo has been declining at Frankfurt too.


October air cargo tonnage declines for Frankfurt and Heathrow

11.11. 2015 (Air Cargo News)
Frankfurt, Europe’s number one air cargo hub by volume last year, and fourth placed London-Heathrowboth recorded a decline in tonnages for October.

The German hub saw volumes fall by 1.5% to 185,222 tonnes, the eighth month in a row that Frankfurt has seen red ink for its monthly throughputs versus like period 2014. For the year so far, Frankfurt’s volume are down 2.5% to just over 1.7m tonnes.

Meanwhile, Heathrow’s October throughput declined 1.4% to 132,575 tonnes, the sixth month in a row that the UK’s top air cargo gateway has registered a fall. For the first ten months of 2015, Heathrow’s overall volumes are near static at 1.2m tonnes, seeing an increase of just 0.1%.

In a statement, Heathrow – which is pushing for government approval to build a third runway — said that its emerging market cargo volumes increased 3.4% over the past 12 months – “notably to Turkey up 26% and Brazil up 7% – underlining the export growth potential an expanded Heathrow with up to 40 new long-haul connections would deliver”.

Heathrow is also beginning engagement with the freight industry on a cargo blueprint that will “double Heathrow’s cargo capacity and boost the UK’s global export competitiveness by enabling faster, more efficient cargo movements”.


Heathrow’s air cargo volumes over the past five years.

Data from Heathrow statistics at

MonthCargo Volume (Metric Tonnes)
All 20101,473,084
All 20111,484,487
All 20121,464,550
All 20131,423,013
All 20141,499,081


More details at



Heathrow announces plan to double cargo volumes


£180m investment into revolutionising cargo announced at today’s BCC (British Chambers of Commerce) conference 
Faster more efficient cargo movements will encourage airlines to increase freight capacity, boosting the UK’s global export competitiveness

UK exporters are set to benefit from the doubling of cargo volumes at Heathrow, the UK’s biggest port for goods by value.

Faster and more efficient cargo movements are vital in improving the UK’s export competiveness and maximising economic benefits. As Britain’s global gateway, Heathrow connects British exporters to global markets and makes it easier for investors to come to the UK. With four out of five of all long haul flights coming from Heathrow, the airport is critical to the UK’s position as a hub for international trade.

The blueprint plans were developed with key stakeholders and announced by CEO John Holland-Kaye at today’s BCC conference, as part of a 15 year vision to invest around £180million in revolutionising its cargo facilities, processes and people. The blueprint includes proposals for a specialist pharmaceutical storage area – to support airlines to move highly valuable and temperature sensitive medicines – as well as better infrastructure to reduce congestion and smoother processes, all enabling freight to flow better through the airport and halving process time from 8-9 hours, to four hours.

In addition, freight forwarders using Heathrow will benefit from:

Air to air transit – a facility located on the airfield which will enable smoother handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out by air. This will shorten connection times from a current average of 6+ hours

Becoming 100% ‘e-freight ready – working with businesses, airlines, IATA, HMRC and the DfT to fully implement e-Freight at Heathrow. This reduces the need for lengthy paper work and will be one of the first airports to become 100% digital.

A new truck parking facility – a waiting area for drivers which will cater for over 100 vehicles and offer secure parking, access control, toilets/showers and dining facilities

Heathrow has developed its vision to overhaul the cargo facilities after working closely with stakeholders including freight forwarders, Government, exporters and British businesses, forming an ambition to become one of the leading European airports for cargo. These improvements will also encourage airlines to bring cargo friendly aircraft with greater freight capacity to Heathrow, which are typically more modern, greener and quieter.

Chris Welsh – FTA Director of Global and European Policy said:
“Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is excellent news, and exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for. The significance of air freight is often overlooked, but today’s announcement illustrates that Heathrow Airport has listened very carefully to ourselves and the freight industry. The improvements it is proposing are essential to the growth and success of the UK economy.”

Addressing the BCC  conference, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport. This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.”

John Holland-Kaye’s full speech to the BCC’s annual conference is available in full in the downloads section.



Heathrow cargo volumes on the rise

11.5.2015 (Air Cargo News)

London Heathrow Airport recorded cargo growth of 2.2 per cent in April to 122,879 tonnes versus same month of 2014, and a 3.9 per cent increase to 493,816 tonnes for the January to April 2015 period versus last year.

The UK hub saw on-year cargo increases in April of 61.5 per cent to Mexico, 27.5 per cent to Turkey, 18.5 per cent to Brazil and 9.9 per cent to India.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Expanding Heathrow delivers exactly what the UK economy needs – creating up to 180,000 new jobs and £211bn of economic benefit right across the country, growing exports by increasing trade routes to fast-growing markets, rebalancing growth across the whole of the UK.

“Heathrow expansion isn’t about a runway, it’s about the future we want for Britain. Let’s be ambitious about our place in the world, let’s keep Britain at the heart of the global economy and let’s get on with expanding Heathrow.”


Frankfurt cargo up 1.7 per cent in 2014

15.1.2015  (Air Cargo News)
Strikes and snow failed to dampen 2014 cargo volumes at Frankfurt airport, with Germany’s premier freight hub recording a 1.7 per cent rise in full year throughputs to 2.2m tonnes.

However, in December 2014, cargo volumes for the final month slipped 1.4 per cent year-on-year, reaching 176,241 tonnes.

Frankfurt’s full year 2014 passenger numbers rose 2.6 percent to 59.6m, although the increase would have been 3.9 per cent when taking into account “the high number of mainly strike-related flight cancellations and all other extraordinary cancellations, including due to adverse weather,” said airport authority Fraport.

Aircraft movements in 2014 edged down by 0.8 per cent to about 469,000 take-offs and landings, “reflecting the ongoing trend towards larger aircraft and better capacity utilisation along with higher passenger and cargo volumes”.

Frankfurt continues to push for a new passenger terminal that would also add to bellyhold cargo capacity.

Fraport’s executive board chairman, Stefan Schulte, said: “The growth trend experienced in 2014 confirms our forecasts for the coming years.  This further underscores why we need a third new passenger terminal here at Frankfurt Airport.

“If the current trend continues, with growth rates ranging from two to three percent, in the coming years, the existing terminals will reach their capacity limits by 2021 at the latest. We will need the new Terminal 3 to ensure that we can continue delivering excellent service quality to our passengers, also with modern and trendsetting ambiance in the future.”



Heathrow Won’t Agree Pollution Limits

By Paul Williams

Nov 13, 2015 (Chiswick Herald)

Members of W4 CHATR (CHiswick Against Third Runway) joined protestors from across London outside Portcullis House in peaceful demonstration in the hours before the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee met with Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye and Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission Report.

One of the conditions of Heathrow expansion by the Airport Commission was a ban on night flights between 11.30pm -6.00am. But during the committee proceedings John Holland Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive, repeatedly declined to commit to a no-flights-before-6.00am rule. Nor would he endorse the Airport’s Commission’s recommendation that a fourth runway be ruled out, saying that was ‘a matter for the government’.

According to City Hall, he also ‘waved away concerns about deteriorations in air quality by insisting that a third runway, with 50% more flights at the airport, would not lead to any more cars on the roads.’ For Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, ‘the Airports Commission is falling apart…Mr Holland Kaye’s flat refusal to commit to conditions to limit air pollution, night flights and noise shows he simply does not understand that the recommendation of a third runway is crucially tied to these conditions.’

Asked to comment for the Herald on Heathrow’s refusal to commit before the Audit Committee to the ban on night flights a Heathrow spokesperson said: “It is something that we are looking at. We will make a comment on it in due course. There are huge benefits to local communities for getting rid of the early morning scheduled arrivals between 4.30 and 6.00 am. Equally there is a big cost to that for the UK economy because those are very valuable trading routes to the Far East, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It is not easy to resolve that. We are working on it. I am confident that we will be able to find a way through that. With expansion there is a real opportunity to significantly reduce night flying at Heathrow.”

A spokesperson for CHATR said, ‘Heathrow’s position is very worrying for Londoners. Are we really being asked to believe that a huge increase in the number of flights with a third runway will not come with the inevitable increase in pollution and noise? That’s simply not credible. We already know that new flightpaths are proposed over areas of London that have not been previously overflown. How do people in these areas experience ‘huge benefits’ from these negotiations? Hundreds of thousands of Londoners in these areas will clearly be worse off, with noise, pollution and financial losses to house prices for which there is no compensation’

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Environmental Director added: “We are confident that we can agree a package that will significantly reduce night flying. Put that another way: significantly increase the period without night flights at Heathrow. This is a significant change. This is really reiterating what Howard Davies said. Heathrow can get better, because as it gets bigger we can reduce night flying at Heathrow.” )