Heathrow hoping to woo air freight companies with plans to give air freight more priority

There was a small decline (0.2%) in 2015 in cargo volumes at Heathrow compared with 2014 levels. The tonnage of freight (1.496 million tonnes, more imports than exports) is barely changed from the amount in 2011. Heathrow has tried to sell its 3rd runway plans partly on the grounds that it is vital for UK companies that export things needing air freight. Many non-perishable, not especially high value items are air freighted (books and brochures, raincoats and overcoats). Almost all air freight at Heathrow is belly hold, in passenger planes. DHL is the only freight airline there.  Heathrow has plans (nothing started) to try to develop itself as a European cargo hub through the investment of around £180m, including a specialist pharmaceutical storage area — to support airlines to move highly valuable and temperature sensitive medicines. There would be a huge impact on local roads of all the freight vehicles, which would be diesel powered, and the NO2 pollution.  IAG has a large freight hub in Madrid, shipping air cargo into Heathrow and Gatwick. Heathrow says it has restricted air freight capacity on some routes, but overall load factors were only about 60-65%. ie. there is plenty of space for more. Air freight companies would like Heathrow to allocate slots for them.



See also  Air Freight for figures on tonnage etc at UK airports

Airlines eye scheduled freighter operations as Heathrow pushes cargo up priority list

By Alex Lennane (the LoadStar)

Heathrow is in talks with at least two freighter airlines looking to launch operations at the UK’s slot-constricted airport.

The airport, which, along with the CAA has a newfound interest in freight as it lobbies for a third runway, has very restricted cargo capacity on 19 routes, including to the US west coast, Tokyo and parts of China.

But Nick Platts, head of cargo, said there was a possibility of launching some regular freighter operations in slots that were available.

This was revealed at the Multimodal event yesterday, after Larry Coyne, CEO of Coyne Airways, called on Heathrow to improve its mix of operations.

“I’d like to see a better balance between freighters and passenger capacity,” he said. “All-cargo airports fall flat on their faces – you need a connection between bellies and freighters.

“Get some freighters in, and you’ll have a better mix.”

Mr Coyne admitted that his airline had left the UK for Amsterdam. Coyne had been using IAG’s 747s at Stansted, but “BA couldn’t connect up with its own flights at Heathrow”, he explained.

Currently only one freighter operator, DHL, has “grandfather” slot rights at Heathrow, but the airport made some £5m from ad hoc freighter operations last year.

Mr Platts, while welcoming freighters, added that Heathrow was primarily a belly cargo airport: “We will always be a passenger hub.”

He added that there was still cargo capacity on many routes, as airport load factors were only about 60-65%, and once efficiencies were implemented, more capacity would be available.

“I think we can do a better job of utilising the capacity – our strength is using bellies and it’s a cheaper and more efficient use of resources. We need to get airlines to upgrade their aircraft to get more belly capacity. And expansion would alleviate the capacity constraints on some routes.”

A third runway would add 40 destinations to the 185 already served from Heathrow.

Mr Platts said the airport was trying to determine the value of cargo and the consequent investment.

Heathrow is heavily regulated, with price-capped fees set by the CAA and a “single till”, meaning that all revenues went into the same pot.

“We need evidence that cargo is a good investment for the airport,” he said.

The UK CAA, which represents the needs of airport users, is currently reviewing the price controls at Heathrow, before the current contract expires in 2019. For the first time it is considering cargo owners and forwarders as users, where previously it had only taken passengers into account.

“It wants to ensure that shippers’ needs are being met,” said Mr Platts.

“We need to do more for our exporters. We import more than we export, which is a bad state of affairs and we need to encourage exports. There is an export role at all airports in the UK, but without expansion we can’t ship as much. And so cargo won’t go to Manchester or Stansted, it will go to the continent.”

While Coyne moved its operations from the UK to Amsterdam, Air Canada did the opposite, said Mark Olney, general manager cargo for Europe, Middle East and India.

“We bring in freight from the continent as we struggle with capacity there. Our passenger aircraft at Heathrow are 777s, and they are like freighters.”

He added that the airline was investing in terminal facilities at Heathrow. “It’s an area where we recognise we have to contribute.”

The Multimodal session was held just after Heathrow had announced that it would accept, and in some cases exceed, all the environmental targets set out in the Airports Commission report. It also said it would extend a night flight ban by an hour and a half (from 11pm until 5.30 am) sooner than required if it won consent for the third runway.

Mr Platts said he had been considering low-emission onward transport for freight, including using barges on the nearby Grand Union Canal, which links central London with Birmingham, and by rail.

The airport is investing £8m in cargo facilities, including airside transhipment, and reducing truck congestion.



Heathrow air freight in recent years:



1 498 906 1 496 551

See earlier:


Heathrow plans to double its volume of air freight, necessitating more trips by diesel powered HGVs and goods vehicles

Heathrow plans to double its  air freight volumes in its aspiration to become one of the leading airports for cargo in Europe. CEO John Holland-Kaye announced at the British Chambers of Commerce that Heathrow will invest £180 million in the project and has its blueprint ready. Investment will be made to enhance air to air transit by building a facility on the airport for faster handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out again by air, reducing the times. The improvements to air freight is meant to be “essential for the growth and success of the UK economy.” (Where have we heard that  before?)  There will need to be a new truck parking facility for over 100 vehicles, with waiting arenas for drivers. There will be a special pharmaceutical storage area to move temperature-sensitive medicines and provide better infrastructure for faster freight movement. Holland-Kaye wants the UK “reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.” Heathrow dealt with 1.50 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2014. This can only increase the number of HGVs in the Heathrow area. HGVs are all powered by diesel, not petrol – with its attendant higher NO2 emissions.  Meanwhile Mr Holland-Kaye was at the EAC saying there would be no extra car journeys to/from Heathrow with a 3rd runway.



Heathrow records 2015 demand decline

11.1.2016 (~Air Cargo News)

The UK’s busiest cargo airport, Heathrow, ended last year with a slight decline in cargo volumes compared with 2014 levels.

The west London airport, which is hoping to add an extra runway, recorded total cargo volumes of 1.5m tonnes in 2015, a 0.2% decline compared with a year earlier.

However, it was not all bad news for the airport as it managed to record a 0.8% year-on-year demand increase in December to 127,153 tonnes.

It said the December increase was down to growth from emerging markets; Nigeria was up 50%, China 20% and Turkey 20%.

In mid-December the Government announced another delay on whether, and how, to expand runway capacity in the south-east of England.

The airport has, however, unveiled plans to develop itself as a European cargo hub through the investment of around £180m.

This 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.



IAG Cargo extends reach to tap South African perishables

To capture some of the booming perishables market in Africa, IAG Cargo has added three-times-a-week, London Gatwick to Cape Town service to its winter schedule, using a 777-200 aircraft, beginning Nov. 24.The new seasonal frequencies will supplement IAG’s thrice-weekly A330-300 Madrid-Johannesburg service, which is set to begin Aug. 1, and its existing London Heathrow-Cape Town-Johannesburg service. By the end of 2016, this new Cape Town route brings total IAG Cargo flights to 27 per week to South Africa from both the London and Madrid hubs, offering a weekly lift of up to 440 tonnes.

Over the past 12 months, IAG Cargo said it has seen volumes of mangoes, avocadoes, pineapples and flowers “perform extremely well” out of South Africa, via IAG’s Constant Fresh service. “We now offer an outstanding proposition into and out of South Africa, providing businesses with enhanced flexibility over where and when they ship their goods,” said David Shepherd, head of commercial at IAG Cargo. “The forthcoming Johannesburg route will help to better link Africa with strategic markets, such as Latin America, while the new Cape Town-Gatwick route offers unrivalled access to Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.”

According to the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), the Middle East, European Union and United States were major importers of perishables from South Africa last year. Year-over-year African export volumes of avocados increased by 26 percent in 2015, while citrus experienced 2 percent growth, PPECB said.  Also, 55 percent of South Africa’s subtropical fruit, including avocados, mangoes, pineapples, and passion fruit, was exported to the EU last year.



It seems avocadoes from Kenya can be exported by sea freight, as well as by air freight Link and a lot of detail on the options of air freight or sea freight for avocadoes  Link 

Sea shipping of mangoes is possible, and cheaper than by air  Link

Extract from

Exports from Heathrow top £48 billion

11.11.2015 (Air Cargo Week)

The top five UK export commodities by value via Heathrow were precious metals (£26 billion), aircraft turbojets (£3.3 billion), jewellery (£3 billion), medicaments (£2.8 billion) and paintings and drawings (£2.4 billion).


Fresh salmon is the UK’s number one export by weight via Heathrow, with 46,000 tonnes exported in the most recent 12-month period.

Books and brochures are the UK’s second largest export by weight via Heathrow with over 20,000 tonnes exported in the 12 months leading up to July 2015.

Overcoats and raincoats are one of the biggest growth exports by weight via Heathrow, with a 60 per cent growth on 2014 figures, highlighting the continued growth of the British fashion and design sector.

Earlier today, Heathrow reports its cargo volumes for January to October 2015 are up 0.1 per cent, and on a rolling 12-month basis volumes are up 0.8 per cent. Cargo to and from emerging markets has risen 3.4 per cent over the past 12 months – notably to Turkey by 26 per cent.


Full article at  http://www.aircargoweek.com/exports-from-heathrow-top-48-billion/