Zeppelins and dirigible airships might provide a low carbon transport alternative. There is speculation that they could be used to transport air cargo, instead of high carbon aircraft. It is possible they will also be transporting passengers, on short or medium length journeys. British and French companies are working on designs for airships. Hybrid Air Vehicles in Bedford has already completed seven flights of its Airlander 10 prototype, after some mishaps along the way. It is filled with helium. It can theoretically carry ten tonnes of freight or up to 90 passengers. It can take off and land almost anywhere flat-ish with a 600 meter expanse, or indeed on water, without the need for airports or buildings, in convenient locations near towns or cities. It cruises at 130 km/h using the vectored thrust of helicopter technology – hence the “hybrid” – and is an order of magnitude lower carbon. CO2 is even lower, if its engines are electric. “High-carbon air travel risks losing its social licence to operate. A carbon tax is coming … The air-freight industry may not survive en masse unless it cuts emissions drastically.” But is there enough helium available? It would have to fly with the wind, ie. from west to east, using winds like the jetstream. . Tweet
How airships could provide the future of green transport
The UK is a leader in the airship revival, going head to head with France in an escalating global race
By AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD (Telegraph) 23 August 2020
Hybrid Air Vehicles in Bedford has already completed seven flights of its Airlander 10 prototype
Zeppelins and dirigible airships are with us again after eighty years out of favour – faster and hopefully much safer than in the inter-War era – promising ultra-low carbon air transport for the net-zero age.
It may not be long before we can start eating air-flown vegetables from Peru or blueberries from Kenya without feeling pangs of guilt. Fresh food may reach us in cargo Hindenburgs without the unconscionable CO2 footprint of jet freight.
If all goes well, we will be able to hop virtuously from Liverpool to Belfast in point-to-point travel, or Stockholm to Helsinki, almost in the time it takes for a regular flight from door to door. We can hope to lift off quietly from a field close to London in the early evening, retreat to a couchette after dinner and wake up in Barcelona, Rome or Val d’Isere.
As it happens, Britain is a throbbing centre of the airship revival, going head to head with France for global leadership. It could arguably capture part of the $120bn air freight market and displace a slice of the vastly greater truck haulage business in congested zones or regions with poor infrastructure.
Hybrid Air Vehicles in Bedford has already completed seven flights of its Airlander 10 prototype, after some mishaps along the way and an accident after a mooring line became caught on a power cable. It is an exotic double-humped dolphin made of carbon fibre composites and lifted by helium.
The Airlander 10 carries ten tonnes of freight or up to 90 passengers. It can take off and land almost anywhere flatish with a 600 meter expanse, or indeed on water, without the need for airports or buildings. “We can bring it much closer into cities. It could land on the Thames at Greenwich,” says Rod Sinclair, the company’s chairman.
It cruises at 130 km/h using the vectored thrust of helicopter technology – hence the “hybrid” – but should be safer than a helicopter since it can fly on one of its four engines, uses ten times less fuel, and is an order of magnitude greener. “We’ll always beat them on price,” says Mr Sinclair, an ex-investment banker at Barclays.
The company says the first diesel engines will cut emissions by 75pc. The gains will increase to 90pc after 2025 as electric engines are added, and 100pc once hydrogen fuel cells come of age. “We’ll then dispense with carbon burning altogether,” says chief executive Tom Grundy, a former Airbus and BAE Systems engineer.
It once looked as if airships would never recover from the disasters of the Thirties. For the British, it was the crash of the R101 on its maiden voyage to India in 1930, the consequence of rushing the world’s biggest airship out of the state-owned Royal Air Works on a political timetable. It killed the Air Secretary, Lord Thompson, and ended the dream of an airship nexus to bind the empire together.
For the Americans it was the fate of the USS Akron, a flying aircraft carrier that went down in a thunderstorm off the East Coast, killing 73 crew. For the Germans – and the world – it was the inferno of the Hindenburg in plain view of the newsreel cameras as it was landing in New Jersey in 1937.
Luftschiff Zeppelin had switched to inflammable hydrogen on the Hindenburg because the US then controlled the world market for inert helium, and was hoarding supplies for military use. Static electricity probably caused a spark.
Had Germany continued with its zeppelin programme, the Allies might have lost the Battle of the Atlantic. Hitler would have had a fleet of long range military airships wreaking havoc in mid-ocean beyond the range of allied fighters. He would not have been caught off guard by a rear-flanking maneuver at Stalingrad either.
21st Century aeronautics applied to the airship concept is a different story (we have ways to handle hydrogen), and it is now the fixed-wing jet industry in the dock of public opinion. High-carbon air travel risks losing its social licence to operate. A carbon tax is coming in earnest and will transform the cost equation. The air-freight industry may not survive en masse unless it cuts emissions drastically.
The Airlander was originally developed for use by the US military on intelligence missions in Afghanistan. It has returned with backing from the UK Government and from EU grants. The company is working with Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham to develop the electric engines.
The bread and butter business will be logistics and freight, with a niche in green tourism and clean short-haul hops. OceanSky Cruises is planning eco-voyages to the North Pole on the Airlander 10, which floats across the countryside at low enough altitudes to see the features. It is not pressurised, so you can even open the windows.
Cargo costs are expected to come in at $0.50 per tonne/km for the larger model with a payload of 50 tonnes, roughly a third of operating costs for a fixed-wing Lockheed C130.
The open question is whether scale can eventually cut airship costs low enough to eat into trucking, overflying congested roads in Europe, India or China. Industrial cargo could be lifted directly from car manufacturing hubs in Germany to the UK’s hub in the West Midlands. Vestas is exploring use of airships to deliver the unwieldy 80 meter blades for wind turbines. It says roads have “hit the limits”.
“Cargo airships can capture a huge swath of medium-value freight,” says Professor Barry Prentice, an airship enthusiast from the University of Manitoba. The ultimate prize is to snatch a share from slower maritime shipping.
An academic paper from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis In Austria proposes using the Jet Stream to transport cargo on transcontinental routes without any need for power beyond the initial lift and descent. The cargo ships would float on high winds above 40,000 feet at an average speed of 160 km/h, displacing fleets of container shipping at sea. The study claims that they would cut fuel use by 96pc.
The circular flow would always be from West to East – Shanghai to Los Angeles, New York to London, or Frankfurt to Mumbai – rotating in a perennial circuit. It would take eight days to cross half the world by the northern Jet Stream, and seven days by the southern route, beating maritime shipping on time as well as emissions.
These unmanned super-Hindenburgs controlled by artificial intelligence could be over a mile long, spectral airships passing far overhead in caravans along regulated bands near the troposphere, emitting no sound or CO2.
Hybrid Air Vehicles needs to raise another £120m to get going, with a target of building 40 airships a year and employing 2,000 people in the supply chain, possibly around the hydrogen cluster in Teesside. It is currently crowd-funding from green enthusiasts, often wealthy. “We’ve had a fantastic response,” says Mr Sinclair.
There is competition. The French company Flying Whales has secured $23m of funding from the government of Quebec for helium dirigibles to supply the vast expanses of the Grand Nord. Lockheed Martin is developing its own cargo airship, part hovercraft, part zeppelin.
The UK start-up Varialift Airship had less luck than Hybrid Air in securing help from the UK Government for its aluminum freight ship, so it turned to France instead. “I hoped that England would be the centre of the hub, but they frowned on us when we were looking for sites,” says Alan Handley, the company’s founder and chairman.
The French offered a disused military airfield at Châteaudun, where the first prototype for pilot training is being built. The company aims for full certification by 2023, graduating from standard Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines to hybrid electric for cruising, and finally to solar panels fitted on the shell. “We can generate a lot of electricity at 30,000 feet,” he says.
A Boeing 747 requires at least 70 tonnes of aviation fuel to cross the Atlantic. Mr Handley says his ARH 50 model has the same cargo payload but needs just five tonnes of fuel for the same journey, yet can still reach 300 km/h at high altitude.
“We are not as fast as a Boeing, but a few hours difference doesn’t matter for most freight, and our operating cost reduction is dramatic,” he says. Varialift says the airship costs a quarter as much to make.
As always with a beautiful idea, there are big snags. Will aviation authorities certify airships that move to a different rhythm from established flight paths?
Is there enough helium in the world to sustain a big airship industry? The gas is a finite resource produced from radioactive decay. It is used for MRI scans, semiconductors and superconducting magnets, and lately on a grand scale by the likes of Netflix and Google because it greatly increases the storage capacity of hard drives and cuts power use.
A report by Edison said sources are chronically tight. In the end, however, the peak helium scare is likely to go the way of the peak oil scare ten to fifteen years ago. Demand has a habit of producing its own supply.
With some nurture, there is every chance that net-zero Britain could take the lead in carbon-free transport and create a booming green aviation hub.
Montreal – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced industry performance statistics for 2017. Worldwide annual air passenger numbers exceeded four billion for the first time, supported by a broad-based improvement in global economic conditions and lower average airfares. At the same time, airlines connected a record number of cities worldwide, providing regular services to over 20,000 city pairs* in 2017, more than double the level of 1995. Such increases in direct services improve the industry’s efficiency by cutting costs and saving time for both travelers and shippers alike.
This information is included in the recently released 62nd Edition of the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the yearbook of the airline industry’s performance.
“In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure and education. Aviation is the business of freedom,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Highlights of the 2017 airline industry performance:
System-wide, airlines carried 4.1 billion passengers on scheduled services, an increase of 7.3% over 2016, representing an additional 280 million trips by air.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers. The regional rankings (based on total passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) are: 1. Asia-Pacific 36.3% market share (1.5 billion passengers, an increase of 10.6% compared to the region’s passengers in 2016) 2. Europe 26.3% market share (1.1 billion passengers, up 8.2% over 2016) 3. North America 23% market share (941.8 million, up 3.2% over 2016) 4. Latin America 7% market share (286.1 million, up 4.1% over 2016) 5. Middle East 5.3% market share (216.1 million, an increase of 4.6% over 2016) 6. Africa 2.2% market share (88.5 million, up 6.6% over 2016).
The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown, were: 1. American Airlines (324 billion) 2. Delta Air Lines (316.3 billion) 3. United Airlines (311 billion) 4. Emirates Airline (289 billion) 5. Southwest Airlines (207.7 billion)
The top five international/regional passenger airport-pairs** were all within the Asia-Pacific region, again this year: 1. Hong Kong-Taipei Taoyuan (5.4 million, up 1.8% from 2016) 2. Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta-Singapore (3.3 million, up 0.8% from 2016) 3. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Hong Kong (3.1 million, increase of 3.5% from 2016) 4. Kuala Lumpur–Singapore (2.8 million, down. 0.3% from 2016) 5. Hong Kong-Seoul Incheon (2.7 million, down 2.2% from 2016)
The top five domestic passenger airport-pairs** were also all in the Asia-Pacific region: 1. Jeju-Seoul Gimpo (13.5 million, up 14.8% over 2016) 2. Melbourne Tullamarine-Sydney (7.8 million, up 0.4% from 2016) 3. Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda (7.6 million, an increase of 6.1% from 2016) 4. Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda (7.4 million, up 4.6% from 2016) 5. Beijing Capital-Shanghai Hongqiao (6.4 million, up 1.9% from 2016)
One of the interesting recent additions to the WATS report is the ranking of passenger traffic by nationality, for international and domestic travel. (Nationality refers to the passenger’s citizenship as opposed to the country of residence.) 1. United States of America (632 million, representing 18.6% of all passengers) 2. People’s Republic of China (555 million or 16.3% of all passengers) 3. India (161.5 million or 4.7% of all passengers) 4. United Kingdom (147 million or 4.3% of all passengers) 5. Germany (114.4 million or 3.4% of all passengers)
Globally, cargo markets showed a 9.9% expansion in freight and mail tonne kilometers (FTKs). This outstripped a capacity increase of 5.3% increasing freight load factor by 2.1%.
The top five airlines ranked by scheduled freight tonne kilometers flown were: 1. Federal Express (16.9 billion) 2. Emirates (12.7 billion) 3. United Parcel Service (11.9 billion) 4. Qatar Airways (11 billion) 5. Cathay Pacific Airways (10.8 billion)
Heathrow hopes, if it ever got its 3rd runway (looking increasingly unlikely for a range of reasons …) to get a 50% or so increase in air freight. Manston hopes to re-open as a freight airport. But the increase in tonnage of air freight over the past few years has not been large. In the UK over the past 10 years, CAA data show an increase in tonnage of 11.6% between 2008 and 2018. Global data from IATA, which produces a report on air freight for most months, indicates tonnages have been falling for the past year. The comments from August 2019 state: “• Industry-wide air freight tonne kilometres fell by 3.9% year-on-year in August – a faster speed of decline compared to the previous month. … the industry continues to face headwinds from weakening global trade and softness in a number of key economic indicators. • The deterioration in air freight has been broad-based across the regions in August .. . [as in the] past nine months, Asia Pacific was the main contributor to the industry decline. • Industry-wide air freight capacity increased by 2% compared to a year ago. With capacity rising against contracting demand, the industry-wide air freight load factor dropped by 2.7% compared to a year ago”. IATA says growth is anticipated to be flat in 2019. . Tweet
Impacts of US/China trade battle and Brexit uncertainty has brought the following statement from IATA on Air Cargo growth (June 2019):
“The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has further downgraded its expectations for global air freight this year following a sustained decline in volumes in the first months, and is now forecasting zero growth in 2019.” See link
Industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) ended 2018 0.5% lower than their level of December 2017; the slowest annual growth rate since early-2016. For the year as a whole, FTKs increased by 3.5% in 2018, down from 9.7% in 2017. With capacity increasing faster than demand, the 2018 freight load factor fell by 0.9pp compared with 2017. While a slowdown in freight demand growth was expected following the boost from the inventory restocking cycle in 2017, there are indications that the data are also reflecting the impact of the increasing headwinds to freight demand from renewed signs of weakness in global trade and economic indicators. We expect cargo volumes to increase by 3.7% in 2019; the risks to this forecast appear tilted to the downside
• Industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) for February were 4.7% below their level of February 2018; the slowest annual rate of growth in three years.
• In contrast to demand, air freight capacity has grown moderately over the past 12 months, rising by 2.7% in year-on-year terms. Consequently, the freight load factor is currently 3.5 percentage points lower than a year ago.
• Latin America was the only region to register a positive year-on-year rate of FTK growth this month.
• The negative impact of the softness in global trade and economic indicators is becoming increasingly evident in the recent air freight outcomes. Ongoing trade tensions continue to weigh upon the industry.
Air cargo volumes remain weak, trade tensions dent outlook
• Industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) declined by 3.2% year-on-year in July reflecting the widespread softness in world trade and a number of economic indicators.
• The weakness in air freight volumes remains broad-based across regions in July. While the largest falls came from Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Africa went against the trend to record double-digit year-on-year FTK growth.
• Growth in industry-wide air freight capacity increased to 2.6% year-on-year in July, but is still well below the average monthly pace (5.3%) in 2018. With capacity continuing to outpace demand, the freight load factor has eased by 2.7 percentage points over the past twelve months.
Air freight declines against softer market backdrop
• Industry-wide air freight tonne kilometres fell by 3.9% year-on-year in August – a faster speed of decline compared to the previous month. As argued before, the industry continues to face headwinds from weakening global trade and softness in a number of key economic indicators.
• The deterioration in air freight has been broad-based across the regions in August except for Africa that expanded at a solid pace. As was the case for the past nine months, Asia Pacific was the main contributor to the industry decline.
• Industry-wide air freight capacity increased by 2% compared to a year ago. With capacity rising against contracting demand, the industry-wide air freight load factor dropped by 2.7 percentage points compared to a year ago.
IATA now forecasting zero air freight growth in 2019
By Will Waters (Lloyds Loading List)
05 June 2019
International Air Transport Association further downgrades its expectations for this year following a sustained decline in volumes, as US-China trade tensions escalate
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has further downgraded its expectations for global air freight this year following a sustained decline in volumes in the first months, and is now forecasting zero growth in 2019.
The association’s forecasts have continued to worsen during the last six months, after originally estimating at the end of last year that 2019 would see growth of around 3.7%, a figure that it downgraded in April from 3.7% to 2%.
But following the continuation and subsequent worsening in international trade tensions between the US and China, and continuing Brexit-related trade uncertainty in Europe, the association said this week: “After an exceptional performance in 2017 (+9.7% growth), cargo demand growth slowed to 3.4% in 2018. It is anticipated to be flat in 2019 with cargo volumes of 63.1 million tonnes (63.3 million tonnes in 2018) because of the impact of higher tariffs on trade.
“Cargo yields are expected to be flat in 2019 after a 12.3% improvement in 2018, as cargo load factors fall further, and supply-demand conditions weaken.”
Brian Pearce, IATA’s chief economist, confirmed to Lloyd’s Loading List that a further downgrade was necessary because “the hoped-for US China trade deal has not come through. The whole international trade situation has deteriorated further.”
The latest data released by IATA for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), fell 4.7% in April 2019, compared to the same period the year before. This continued the negative trend in year-on-year demand that began in January, although in volume terms, air freight has not grown for more than a year, and there were several months of year-on-year decline at the end of 2018.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), grew by 2.6% year-on-year in April 2019, meaning that capacity growth has now outpaced that of demand for the last 12 months.
“Air cargo volumes have been volatile in 2019, due to the timing of Chinese New Year and Easter, but the trend is clearly downwards, with volumes around 3% below the August 2018 peak,” IATA noted
“Brexit-related trade uncertainty in Europe and trade tensions between the US and China, have contributed to declining new export orders. In month-on-month terms, export orders have increased only three times in the past 15 months and the global measure has been indicating negative export demand since September. The continued weakness is likely to lead to further subdued annual FTK growth in the coming months.”
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented: “April saw a sharp decline in air cargo growth and the trend is clearly negative this year. Cost inputs are rising, trade tensions are affecting confidence, and global trade is weakening.
“Airlines are adjusting their capacity growth to try and fall into line with the dip in global trade since the end of 2018. It all adds up to a challenging year ahead for the cargo business. Governments should respond by easing trade barriers in order to drive economic activity.”
Heathrow has a current consultation, on its runway plans, which closes on 28th March. People are advised, if they send in a response, to make sure their submission is not taken as tacit agreement with the 3rd runway. The No 3rd Runway Coalition has put together a 2 page briefing, advising people about the many areas in which the consultation is inadequate, and suggesting a list of issues that remain unaddressed by Heathrow. Just some of the issues where the consultation fails are: – No clarity on plans for road and rail access and no commitment to pay for them. – No assessment of cost of moving the M25 nor a traffic impact assessment whilst construction takes place. – No assessment of the impact of construction of local air quality. – No assessment of impact on assets of national importance (parks and open spaces) from potentially being overflown for 12-hour periods with no respite from noise. On questions people should ask, just some are: – Why does the current Heathrow consultation on expansion include proposals for a shorter runway that have not been considered by the Airports Commission nor included in the Airports NPS? – What assessment has been made of the financial cost of the proposals to move the M25 or put it into a tunnel? – What assessment has been made of the impact on local roads of a potential 50% increase in the level of freight handled by Heathrow? And there are many more. See the full briefing here . Tweet
Briefing on the consultation
Heathrow Airport launched a consultation on 17 January, running until 28 March. This is separate from the Government’s consultation on the Draft Airports National Policy Statement which is still ongoing.
The Transport Select Committee is currently running an inquiry into the Draft NPS and is expected to submit a report to Government by the 29 March.
The final Airports NPS is expected to be put to a vote in the House of Commons by the end of July 2018. It is only then that Heathrow Expansion will be formally considered by Parliament.
This consultation is formed of two separate components. One consultation is on the options of the physical changes on the ground needed to build a new north west runway and operate an expanded airport. The second is on the potential principles Heathrow could apply when designing the new airspace required for an expanded airport. This does not include any detail on actual flightpaths.
MAIN AREAS OF CONCERN – EXPANSION CONSULTATION
It is clear from the series of consultation documents that the impacts of the expansion proposal go far beyond that described and assessed in the Airports NPS.
Should Heathrow proceed with a shorter runway this would invalidate the Appraisal of Sustainability in the NPS and require a fresh round of parliamentary scrutiny.
The consultation includes a number of glaring omissions of the local impacts:
No clarity on plans for road and rail access and no commitment to pay for them.
No assessment of cost of moving the M25 nor a traffic impact assessment whilst construction takes place.
No assessment of the impact of construction of local air quality.
No assessment of impact on assets of national importance (parks and open spaces) from potentially being overflown for 12-hour periods with no respite from noise.
No information or views sought on the impact on demand for housing in the local areas.
No assessment of cost to local authorities of increased demand on services.
No plan to cover the costs that will be imposed on local authorities arising from the relocation of the Lakeside Waste Energy plant.
No plans at all to address the adverse health impacts of a third runway.
No assessment of the impact of freight traffic associated with expansion. No information on possible flight paths of a three-runway airport.
No detail of areas that may be newly overflown.
No proposal for continued respite for communities.
QUESTIONS TO ASK HEATHROW
Why does the current Heathrow consultation on expansion include proposals for a shorter runway that have not been considered by the Airports Commission nor included in the Airports NPS?
What assessment has been made of the financial cost of the proposals to move the M25 or put it into a tunnel?
What traffic impact assessment has been undertaken for the effects on strategic and local roads of moving the M25?
What assessment has been made of the impact on local roads of a potential 50% increase in the level of freight handled by Heathrow?
What increase in surface access capacity will be required to facilitate a third runway?
What rail improvements do Heathrow believe are required to support expansion given that Crossrail and the Piccadilly Line upgrade have been designed to support London’s population growth?
What plans do Heathrow have to introduce a road user charge around the airport?
Why have detailed flight paths for a third runway not been published?
What assessment has been made of impacts to residents during the construction of the runway?
What guarantees of respite are being offered to communities currently overflown? How many communities will be newly impacted by noise from airport operations with a third runway?
How will Heathrow finance the third runway?
FLIGHT PATH DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The operation of Heathrow airport currently exposes hundreds of thousands of people to the intolerable, detrimental impacts of aircraft noise. Any expansion will simply expose thousands more to unacceptable levels of aircraft noise. The consultation presents some of its airspace policy choices as zero sum and is simply seeking to divide those opposed to expansion. The Coalition advises against engagement with this consultation.
Send your views to Freepost LHR EXPANSION CONSULTATION or email email firstname.lastname@example.org
Heathrow is proud to boast about the amount of cargo it handles, in the run-up to Christmas. It publishes a chosen few of the statistics, for the month from 24th November to 24th December from a year earlier. These show the huge tonnage of items that are air freighted, but are not perishable – and presumably could perfectly well be transported to (or from) the UK by ship. Heathrow says the data “reveals sharp spike in exports of seasonal essentials including Christmas lights, calendars, fish, lobster, and meat.” The press release is a bit unclear about just how much of the cargo is exports, and how much is imports – or cargo in transit through Heathrow. But it celebrates air freighting items like books, Christmas lights, calendars and dried flowers (sic – dried, not fresh) for decorations. Heathrow only mentions the non-EU destinations for cargo. They are very proud of huge tonnage of salmon that is shipped abroad (salmon farming does a huge amount of environmental harm, which is increasingly becoming known to the public). Heathrow now also exports trout (also farmed) and lobster. These are the items being flown over people’s heads, as they suffer the noise of Heathrow’s planes – or the items in lorries adding to local air pollution. Essential?? . Tweet
Lights, decorations and… lobster? The most popular Christmas cargo flying through Heathrow
12.12.2017 (Heathrow airport press release)
Christmas Ingredients Flying Through in Record Numbers via Heathrow
Over 143 million kilograms of Christmas cargo expected to fly via Heathrow to the world in the month leading up to December 25th, a record to date
New data reveals sharp spike in exports of seasonal essentials including Christmas lights, calendars, fish, lobster, and meat
Heathrow launches the “12 Exporters of Christmas” social media campaign to bring these festive exporting stories to life
Heathrow has released new data revealing the wide array and surprising volumes of seasonal exports that fly in the bellyhold of planes in the months leading up to Christmas. Over 143 million kilos of Christmas cargo is expected to fly through Heathrow to destinations around the world from November 24th to December 25th – a record to date.
As the biggest port in the UK by value, Heathrow plays a crucial role in delivering the essential ingredients to Christmas celebrations to British homes and homes all over the world. The airport’s data from November and December 2016 shows a clear spike in the volume of certain Christmas staples coming into the airport and out to non-EU destinations, including:
Christmas lighting sets – 27,467 kg (up from an average of 7,203 kg/month from January – October)
Frozen lobster – 443,146 kg (up from an average of 163,312 kg/month from January – October)
Calendars – 31,316 kg (up from an average of 3,382 kg/month from January – October)
Dried flowers, including for decorations – 310,677 kg (up from an average of 109,796 kg/month from January – October)
Salmon was the most popular export to non-EU destinations overall by weight in November and December 2016, with 6,070,000 kg of fish (equivalent to approximately 480 New London Routemaster Buses) recorded as flying through. Exports of books were the second most popular commodity – with a recorded 4,834,000 kg going through last year (or approximately 382 New London Routemaster buses).
Heathrow’s data also reveals the top 5 destinations these exports are flying to outside the EU – showing the majority of long-haul exports are destined for American markets: [They do not mention the EU destinations].
United States (15.31 million kilograms)
China (6.20 million kilograms)
UAE (3.77 million kilograms)
Australia (3.36 million kilograms)
Hong Kong (2.77 million kilograms)
To highlight the wide array of exports flying out of its gates, Heathrow has today launched a “12 Exporters of Christmas” social media campaign. Each day in the lead up to Christmas, Heathrow will highlight individual stories of SMEs up and down the country that rely on the airport to export British Christmas essentials including tea, jams and biscuits across the world.
In total, Heathrow has seen a record 290,340,803 kilograms of exports flying through from January to October to non-EU destinations this year – an 8.5% increase from the same period last year. These exports are worth an astounding £39.62 billion. Heathrow’s role as a trading hub will grow as expansion takes place, with cargo capacity set to double with the addition of a third runway.
Nick Platts, Head of Cargo at Heathrow Airport said:
“Heathrow is at its busiest time at Christmas – and this year, we not only expect record numbers of passengers to fly through, but also a record amount of cargo to be flown in the holds under their feet. Santa may still have the claim on the most deliveries on Christmas Eve, but for the months before it, Heathrow is doing its bit to export our British Christmas across the world.”
Notes to Editors:
All figures – unless indicated – exclude EU27 and Switzerland
Sources of figures: UK Tradeinfo, Seabury Group, Heathrow Analysis and Heathrow Monthly Traffic Figures
New London Routemaster bus weight is calculated at 12.65 tonnes, or 12,650kg
Top 10 commodities by volume exported in Nov-Dec 2016 via LHR
(Non-EU exports, excl. Switzerland, grouped by categories)
Top export commodities by weight in Nov + Dec 2016 (tonnes)
[There is, of course, no comparable data on imports. Heathrow only ever stresses exports, but there are a higher tonnage of imports ….]
And a year earlier Heathrow said:
16 December, 2016
Forget sleighs and reindeer – Heathrow’s got your Christmas cargo covered
As shoppers rush to beat the deadline for the final post, over 130,000 tonnes of Christmas cargo is expected to reach the four corners of the world via Heathrow in December 2016, a record to date
Fresh salmon, knitted items, clotted cream and books are amongst the top exports by weight in Christmas 2015
Festive imports include Christmas staples like cranberries, lamb and peas
Over 1 million tonnes of cargo goes through Heathrow each year
With shoppers rushing to get their last minute presents ahead of this weekend’s international postage deadline, Heathrow is forecasting up to 132,000 tonnes of cargo will go through the airport this December, an increase of 3% over last year, and a new record in air freight for December at Heathrow since 1991.
To mark the occasion, Heathrow has released new data on the seasonal exports and imports in 2015 and highlights what Christmas 2016 has in store.
Heathrow’s export data reflects how our uniquely British sensibilities are exported to the world. Fresh salmon was the single biggest export by weight, totalling 2,980 tonnes in December alone. Other Christmas staples, including knitted and crocheted items, dairy products including clotted cream, and books were amongst the airport’s most popular exports by weight for the month of December, totalling 2,558 tonnes altogether in December 2015. While not in the list of top ten exports overall, exports of whiskey jumped up by 76% – or 128 tonnes – from November to December 2015.
At the same time, vital components of a festive feast are flown in from all over the world – including 1,680 tonnes of fresh berries, primarily cranberries from Chile, 839 tonnes of lamb, mostly from New Zealand, and 830 tonnes of peas, mostly from Guatemala. Popular presents including books, and pullovers were the most popular Heathrow import commodities by weight last December, and are expected to be again in 2016.
As the biggest port in the UK by value of goods, Heathrow has played an important role in exports. The top five UK export commodities by value expected to go through the airport this Christmas are (based on trends in December):
Parts of aircraft & aircraft turbo engines – (in December 2015, the value of these was £281 million)
Aircraft turbojets – (in December 2015, the value of these was £212 million)
Vaccines for human medicine – (in December 2015, the value of these was £160 million)
Medicine, measured doses or for retail sale – (in December 2015, the value of these was £130 million
Paintings – (in December 2015, the value of these was £113 million)
As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow connects to 82 long-haul destinations which put it – and the UK – at the heart of international commerce. Having received Government backing for its expansion, Heathrow will be able to open up 40 additional long haul destinations – including some severely constrained routes to emerging markets – and almost double capacity.
Three of the top five Christmas export destinations at Heathrow (based on value in December 2015) are to fast growing economies in Asia:
USA – £929 million
Hong Kong – £849 million
China – £730 million
UAE – £238 million
Japan – £151 million
In total, Heathrow has seen 1,407,561 tonnes of cargo go through the airport from January to November this year, an increase of almost 3% over the same period last year.
Nick Platts, Head of Cargo at Heathrow Airport said:
“We may be a long way from the North Pole, but the figures today underline Heathrow’s vital part in delivering Christmas to the UK, and the British Christmas to the world. Of course, our standing agreement with Santa Claus remains and we’ll prioritise his landing clearance come Christmas Eve.”
– ENDS –
Notes to editors:
All figures exclude EU27 & Switzerland.
Source: UK Tradeinfo, Seabury Group, Heathrow analysis
130,000 tonnes of cargo is a record for December cargo volumes, based on Heathrow records for dating back from 1991.
East Midlands Airport (EMA) is owned by MAG, the Manchester Airports Group, and the 3rd largest after Manchester and Stansted. In its most recent accounts, revenue grew by 3.6% to £62.4m for the year to March 2017 – far behind Manchester airport’s 12.5% growth to £444.5m, but slightly above the 3% for Stansted, which had a £294.1m turnover. The airport’s management hopes that being near Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, and with programmes such as HS2 and the Midlands Engine aiming to grow the local economy, it has growth prospects for the future. There are always hopes of connections to 2nd-tier Chinese cities such as Ningbo, where the University of Nottingham has a campus, India and the United States – possibly key markets in the post-Brexit world. East Midlands wants to double is passenger number, to 10 million – and almost treble the amount of freight to one million tonnes by around 2030 to 2035. It is the UK’s largest pure freight airport – for aircraft dedicated to carrying cargo – in the UK. (Heathrow has much more, but that comes as belly-hold cargo, in passenger planes). EMA handles about 350,000 tonnes of freight and cargo through a 24/7 operation. Noisy planes fly all night. . Tweet
East Midlands Airport boss on plans for future expansion and new destinations
A new-look terminal could be on the way if the Castle Donington airport can reach 6.5 million passengers
By Dan Robinson (Deputy Business Editor, Nottingham Post) 24 OCT 2017
Unlike many transport hubs largely affiliated with cities, East Midlands Airport is at the very centre of the region, linking Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. With programmes such as HS2 and the Midlands Engine aiming to grow the local economy, the airport has a crucial role to play in its future. Dan Robinson sits down with managing director Andy Cliffe to find out its plans for new destinations and transforming its 50-year-old infrastructure
Before the economic crash of almost a decade ago, East Midlands Airport had never had it so good. Passenger numbers peaked in 2008 at just under six million, with the list of destinations including Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels.
But once the UK became embroiled in a global recession, holiday ideas were sidelined for many low-income families and spending was reined in by businesses, meaning the airport hit some turbulence.
It has slowly recovered, with airlines like Jet2.com and Ryanair whisking families off on beach breaks and ski trips to a growing list of destinations, recently adding the likes of Naples, Split, Girona, Geneva and Salzburg.
While the summer season passenger load has finally equalled the golden era of 2008, climbing by about 200,000 each year to reach 3.3 million people again in the six months to September 30 this year, the annual figure continues to lag at 4.7 million compared to around 5.8 million nine years ago.
Managing director Andy Cliffe says the winter traffic has not yet reached the same heights as before but he also acknowledges another key issue – the lack of major European hubs, all key economic centres that also offer links to the rest of the world, in the list of destinations available to the East Midlands traveller.
“Those short-haul destinations are an ambition to us, for sure, and it is an immediate priority for us,” he says.
“Places like Paris and Amsterdam, with multiple daily frequencies, are the types of services we want to get back.
“They’ll be crucial in supporting trade from our industries. In a post-Brexit climate, that connectivity to the European market is going to be really important, but it also gives us wider connections as well.
“If you fly to Frankfurt, for example, you can then connect to long-haul flights. It’s the same principle to Paris and Amsterdam. We know there’s demand in our region that we can serve better, and there’s definitely an opportunity to provide more businessservices.
“But when we put those services on, it will be really important for the major businesses around our region to support them. The dilemma is it’s a ‘use or lose it’ situation.”
Further afield, many businesses and the universities would like to see connections to second-tier Chinese cities such as Ningbo, where the University of Nottingham has a campus, India and the United States – all key markets in the post-Brexit world alluded to by Andy.
He adds: “Long-haul connectivity is also an ambition. The region has important connections into the Indian subcontinent, which is a key focus for us.
“There’s a lot of businesses in the East Midlands that want to connect into the West Coast of the USA and New York.
“But you have to bear in mind that Manchester is the only airport outside London to attract a Chinese flight.
“They’re difficult to make stick but we have talked about the ambition for East Midlands.
“We’ve joined trade missions with colleagues from the region and began a sister relationship with an airport in Ningbo last year, which is about collaboration between our cities and regions.
“It’s those sorts of things that start to provide a platform for connectivity going forward.”
Qualified accountant Andy, 44, has spent 18 years with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the parent company of East Midlands Airport (EMA) that also owns Manchester, London Stansted and Bournemouth airports.
He became managing director of EMA four-and-a-half years ago, with Bournemouth Airport – the smallest in the group by far – also in his remit.
Although he commutes from his home in the North West, he spends a lot of time in Castle Donington and sits on East Midlands groups including Marketing NG and Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
During his time at the helm, he says a “huge amount” has changed.
One of his first major challenges was to replace the gap left after Monarch pulled out of the airport in April 2015 (before its eventual demise this year).
The airline had begun operating at East Midlands after Castle Donington-based British Midland and BMIbaby – which had offered routes to major airports including Brussels, Paris and Schiphol – ceased trading three years earlier.
Andy Cliffe, managing director of East Midlands Airport (Image: Andrew Hallsworth) Andy says: “We lost 10 percent of our traffic as Monarch provided 450,000 passengers a year.
“We backfilled those with a combination of Jet2.com and Ryanair to different destinations, and now we’ve got all that back, constantly growing during that period.
“We’ve grown well and the performance of the business has been very strong over the past number of years, adding new routes and carriers into the mix.
“During that time, there’s been no bit of terminal infrastructure we haven’t improved, while we’ve also introduced new car parking systems and expanded the security area.
“All those things have led us to a point where we’re getting the best customer experience scores in the airport’s history.”
As part of MAG, which is headquartered in Manchester, East Midlands is very much one of the little brothers as the third largest out of the four airports.
In its most recent accounts, revenue grew by 3.6 percent to £62.4m for the year to March 2017 – far behind Manchester’s 12.5 percent growth to £444.5m, but slightly above the three percent figure for Stansted, which had a £294.1m turnover.
Manchester has also enjoyed the highest increase in passenger numbers – 11.5 percent up to 26.2 million – while Stansted’s 4.7 percent rise to 24.3 million slightly eclipses East Midlands’ 4.4 percent growth to 4.7 million.
Andy stresses, though, that EMA demands as much attention as others in the group, pointing out the £50m investment over the past five years.
This included a new £15m runway last year that required the temporary closure of the airport, terminal improvements costing £16m in 2014 and other investments in customer-facing areas, such as expanding the security area.
“The focus is right across all our airports,” says Andy, who is part of the MAG executive committee.
“MAG sees the East Midlands as an opportunity for growth, which is set within our long-term vision.”
Andy’s vision for the future – one which he says is shared by MAG and part of its business plan – is to more than double passenger numbers to 10 million and almost treble the amount of freight to a million tonnes by around 2030 to 2035. That could also mean the number of employees, currently at 7,000 people, doubling.
With the core of the current airport built in 1965, he has previously spoken about building a new terminal once it reaches six million passengers.
Is that still on the agenda?
“Potentially,” says Andy. “We will continue to review how best to accommodate the rising number of passengers.
“We’ve had 5.6 million people at our peak so 6.5 million is a good planning number. We’re looking at the options for how to expand facilities. It’s likely that we will incrementally expand in the short-term and then look at significantly expanding thereafter.
“It wouldn’t be another terminal, it would be an expansion or a replacement of the existing building.”
While the airport already sits as the central transport hub in the region, Andy believes it could become an even more vital cog.
Getting the links right to the HS2 hub station in Toton is crucial, and the airport has been mentioned prominently in Midlands Connect, the emerging transport plan that is part of the Midlands Engine strategy.
Andy adds: “International connections and access to global markets is one of the fundamental parts of the Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect strategies, while the airports themselves provide economic assets in terms of the number of people we employ.
“The East Midlands is forecast to be one of the fastest-growing regions outside the South East in the next year, and we have a hugely important role to play.
“That’s a huge opportunity and one we can definitely grasp if we all come together and work for a common purpose that takes advantage of the strengths each of the three cities has.”
Great for freight
It is the UK’s largest pure freight airport – for aircraft dedicated to carrying cargo – in the UK.
Every year, it carries a total of 350,000 tonnes of freight and cargo through a 24/7 operation, facilitating about £9 billion of trade and exports.
Logistics giant DHL has grown by 50 percent after a £90m expansion to the south west of the airport, while UPS has submitted a planning application for a similar-sized warehouse at the eastern end.
Work also started earlier this year on a huge rail freight terminal, known as SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway , taking advantage of links to the M1 and airport, which it will sit beside.
The 700-acre “inland port” will create 7,250 jobs, alongside construction roles and 3,000 indirect jobs.
Airport MD Andy Cliffe says: “The region has a strong manufacturing heritage with Toyota, Bombardier and Rolls-Royce, so cargo and exports are vital to that.
“Everything from online retail through to the movement of Rolls-Royce engines and hospital products that are urgently brought in to the Queen’s Medical Centre come through us.
“There’s no coincidence that there’s so much development around this region when we can get to any airport in the UK by truck within four hours. This area will transform in the next decade to 20 years.”
East Midlands Airport to refurbish full runway over weekends (nothing more ever heard of about the 2009 plans for a runway extension)
August 21, 2016
East Midlands Airport has announced that it will undertake a full length runway refurbishment project from 5th November till 19th December 2016. Therefore the airport will be closed to all traffic for 48 hours (8pm Saturday to 8pm Monday) each weekend, on 7 consecutive weekends. The airport hopes this will cause the least disruption to its airlines, and not affect the imports for Christmas. The timing avoids the busy summer holiday season when the airport makes a lot of money out the low cost leisure travel. The plan is for around 360 workers (Galliford Try is the principle contractor) every weekend laying 50,000 tonnes of specially formulated material across 150,000 square metres of runway etc n total. While the runway is closed, the airport is also replacing over 1,200 lights on and around the area with LED lighting, which uses less electricity than the previous lighting, cutting airport energy costs. East Midlands’ runway was last refurbished in 1999, and has a natural lifespan of around 12-17 years. They are all hoping the work will be done on time and within the weekend periods. The airport hoped, in its forecasts around 2005, to have 4 times as much freight in 2016 as it had in 2004. The level has actually risen by just a few %. They also then hoped for a doubling of flights and passengers. The number of flights has barely risen and the number of passengers has slightly fallen. So much for forecasts.
IATA says global air freight traffic rose 10.4% during the first half of 2017, making it the largest growth in half a year for 7 years. Global air freight capacity for the first half of 2017 grew 3.6% compared to the same period in 2016, resulting in a freight load factor of 44.8%. “Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth, which is positive for yields,” IATA said. In June, air freight traffic grew 11% year-over-year, down from 12.7% in May, but much more than the 3.9% five-year average pace. But IATA senior economist David Oxley reaffirmed that the “best of the cyclical upturn in air freight may now have passed … while business surveys still indicate growing export orders, the new export orders component of the global manufacturing PMI [purchasing managers’ index] has broadly tracked sideways since March.” Unless global manufacturers’ export orders increase, a moderation in year on year air freight growth will likely materialize toward the end of the year.” IATA said carriers in Asia-Pacific and Europe were responsible for two-thirds of the annual increase in traffic during the first half of the year. IATA said air cargo demand “is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the global financial crisis.” . Tweet
IATA: Best 1H growth rate for air freight in seven years
Aug 4, 2017
By Mark Nensel (ATW)
Global air freight traffic has risen 10.4% during the first half of 2017, making it the strongest half-year performance for the air cargo market sector in seven years, according to IATA’s June Air Freight Market Analysis.
Freight capacity for the 1H grew 3.6% compared to the same period in 2016, resulting in a freight load factor of 44.8%. “Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth, which is positive for yields,” IATA said.
In June, air freight traffic grew 11% year-over-year (YOY), down from 12.7% in May, but significantly exceeding the 3.9% five-year average pace. Freight capacity was up 5.2% YOY in June, resulting in a 45% freight load factor for the month.
But IATA senior economist David Oxley reaffirmed that the “best of the cyclical upturn in air freight may now have passed … while business surveys still indicate growing export orders, the new export orders component of the global manufacturing PMI [purchasing managers’ index] has broadly tracked sideways since March.” Unless global manufacturers’ export orders increase, a moderation in YOY air freight growth will likely materialize toward the end of the year.
“Nonetheless, the strong finish to 2016 and start for 2017 for freight volumes both lay the groundwork for robust YOY growth in [traffic] this year as a whole,” Oxley said.
Carriers in Asia-Pacific and Europe were responsible for two-thirds of the annual increase in traffic during the first half of the year, IATA said.
In June, European carriers showed a 14.3% increase in freight traffic and a 6.1% rise in capacity. Europe’s overall cargo volume for the first half of 2017 was up 13.6%, with capacity up 5.4%. The region continues to benefit from strong export orders, IATA said.
Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 10.1% rise in freight volume in June, with a 7.8% rise in capacity. Year-to-date, Asia’s freight traffic has grown 10.1%, with a capacity rise of 4.8%. “Demand growth has been strongest, between 13-15%, on international routes within Asia as well as between Asia and Europe,” IATA said.
North American carriers’ air cargo volumes increased 12.7% in June; year-to-date, the region is showing a 9.3% increase, a marked contrast to -0.9% drop in volume the region showed in 1H 2016. “While the US dollar has fallen back since the start of the year, broader strength in the currency is continuing to support US inbound air freight,” Oxley said. “On the other hand, the strong dollar is also keeping outbound flows under pressure.”
Freight traffic for Middle Eastern carriers grew 3.7% in June, and 7.6% for the year to date, a slowdown from the region’s 10.8% average annual rate seen over the past five years. IATA said competition from carriers in other regions, particularly on the Asia-Europe route, has eaten into Middle Eastern carriers’ volumes. “For the first time in 17 years, the region’s share of total international freight flown in the first half of 2017 has fallen [to 13.9%, down 0.1 point YOY]” IATA noted.
Latin American carriers showed a 9.8% increase in air cargo volumes in June; for the year-to-date, though, the region’s volumes are up only 0.3%. Latin American freight volumes continue to be plagued by a difficult economic and political operating environment, IATA said, noting the June volume growth mainly reflects volatility in month-to-month traffic flows a year ago instead of an upward trend in 2017.
African carriers have made the biggest leaps, statistically, of all regions, with a 31.6% rise in cargo volume in June, and a 25.9% rise in freight volume for the year to date. The region, however, moves only a 1.6% market share. In particular, the region has seen a jump in traffic between Africa and Asia, and FTKs flown on the route “surged by more than 60% in the first five-months of 2017, compared to the same period last year,” Oxley said.
“Air cargo is flying high on the back of the stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the global financial crisis. That’s great news after many years of stagnation,” IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. “Even more importantly, the industry is taking advantage of this momentum to accelerate much-need process modernization and improve the value it provides to its many customers.”
IATA: Global passenger demand reached 12-year high in 1H 2017
Aug 4, 2017
By Mark Nensel (ATW)
Growth in the global air passenger traffic market reached a 12-year high in the 2017 first half, as passenger traffic grew 7.9% compared to 1H 2016 and the load factor hit a record 80.7%, according to IATA’s June Air Passenger Market Analysis.
IATA attributed the year’s strong start to an improving global economic backdrop and stimulus from lower airfares. The industry’s annualized growth pace remains ahead of the average growth rate of both the past five (6.4%) and 10 years (5.5%), IATA said.
IATA observed, however, that the upward trend in passenger traffic is slowing from its robust movement (about 12%) at the end of 2016 to around 7% since February. Business confidence, as measured in the services purchasing managers’ index (PMI), has flattened since January and airlines have cut back on discounted air fares (aka “demand stimulation”) to about half of what they were in 1H 2016, a trend likely to continue into the second half of 2017.
Nonetheless, IATA predicted the peak northern summer travel season will likely be record-breaking.
“This is all good news … the demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy,” IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. “[But] as costs rise, the stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade, and uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully.”
IATA’s analysis reported that the Middle Eastern-North America international passenger market is showing the adverse effects of a “combination of factors including the recently lifted ban on personal electronic devices, as well as the wider negative stimulation from the travel ban that has now been implemented for certain countries.”
For the first half of 2017, international traffic for Middle East carriers grew 7.3% (in contrast to 11% growth in 1H 2016). “This was the slowest H1 growth rate since 2003, and it was the only region to see growth decelerate relative to the same period a year ago,” IATA senior economist David Oxley said. “[But] passenger growth on the segment between the Middle East and North America was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of growth of nonstop services flown by the ‘big-three’ Middle Eastern airlines.”
Through June 30, the biggest increases in international traffic demand were seen by Latin American carriers (up 9.4% year-over-year [YOY]) and African carriers (up 9.2% YOY).
International travel within South America has increased 13% YOY, slightly offset by 0.2% drop in North-South America travel. In June, Latin American carriers saw a 9.7% rise in international traffic while capacity increased 9.1%; the load factor grew 0.4 points YOY to 82.1%.
African carriers’ international traffic increased 9.9% in June, as capacity rose 7.1% and load factor increased 1.7 points YOY to 64.3%. Oxley noted the six-month growth rate for African carriers’ international traffic was similar to 1H 2016 (9.6%) but traffic growth has slowed in recent months. “Conditions in the region’s two largest economies have continued to diverge,” Oxley said. “Business confidence in Nigeria has risen sharply in recent months, but South Africa’s economy fell into recession in Q1 2017.”
In the total passenger market, Asia-Pacific carriers and European carriers are showing the strongest growth for the first half of the year, at 10.6% and 8.8% growth YOY, respectively.
Traffic on Asia-Europe routes continues to improve following terrorism-related disruptions in early 2016, though demand on international routes within Asia has paused, IATA said. Domestic traffic in China is up 15.2% YOY (compared to 9.8% growth for 1H 2016) and India’s domestic traffic increased 18.6%, down from 23.3% growth in 1H 2016.
European carriers’ passenger traffic growth in the first half of 2017 more than doubled from its 4% pace in 1H 2016, attributable, in part, to increased economic confidence in the region. But IATA noted that that traffic demand growth has moderated over the past four months, as international traffic within the region has reported paused since December.
North American carriers have shown a total market growth of 3.8% for the first half of 2017, as capacity has grown 3.4% and the overall load factor increased 0.3 point YOY to 83.1%. North American airlines’ international traffic was up 4.3% YOY during the first half (contrasted with 2.1% a year ago). “The comparatively robust economic backdrop in North America is expected to continue to support outbound passenger demand in the near-term,” Oxley said. “However, anecdotal evidence has continued to suggest that tourists are being deterred by the additional security measures now involved with travelling to the US.” Domestic travel in the US increased 3.4% during the first half of 2017, slower than its 4.6% growth rate a year ago. US domestic capacity was up 3.3%, resulting in an 84.5% domestic passenger load factor for the year through June 30.
An underground warehousing project near Heathrow has been approved by Hounslow councillors. It is proposed by a company called “Formal Investments.” The 44 hectare site, just to the north-eastern corner of the airport, the Rectory Farm. It is directly under the northern runway approach path (on westerlies) so would be horrendously noisy with planes not more than 500 feet or so above. Above the subterranean warehouse would be a new park, with sports pitches, using extracted minerals from underneath the currently “disused” land. The site, alongside The Parkway (A312) and Bath Road (A4)could deliver Hounslow’s share of minerals, required by the London Plan. The first areas underground may be available in 2022 if work starts in 2019 – the whole thing could take 15 years to finish. Heathrow wants more warehousing space, as it hopes to increase the amount of air cargo – especially if allowed a 3rd runway. That increase in freight, arriving and departing in lorries, is a huge problem for local air pollution. That pollution (NO2 and particulates) is an almost insuperable barrier to a 3rd runway – especially with ever more freight. Estate agents Savills, said: “Rectory Farm offers a pioneering and innovative solution to the shortage of industrial space inside the M25.” . Tweet
Approval for underground warehousing near Heathrow
10.7.2017 (Air Cargo News)
An underground warehousing project near Heathrow Airport has taken a major step forward after councillors at local authority Hounslow approved the proposal, described as “visionary” by its backer, Formal Investments.
Above the subterranean warehouse would be created the largest new park in West London for more than 100 years, using extracted minerals from underneath the currently disused land.
The site, alongside The Parkway (A312) and Bath Road (A4), the latter being an important road link to Heathrow, will deliver Hounslow’s share of minerals required by the London Plan, administered by the Mayor of London.
Some of the minerals will be used on-site to construct the up to 177,500 sq m of underground warehousing space.
The first areas of the new park will be available within 12 months of starting on site and will provide recreational space linking local communities which will include full size grass and all-weather football pitches.
Work is expected to begin in 2019 with the first area of the park opening in 2020 and the first underground warehouse space is expected to be available for businesses to use from 2022 during a 15 year period of extraction, construction and landscaping activity.
Formal Investments director Nicholas King said: “It is hugely exciting to know these ambitious and visionary plans, overwhelmingly supported by local residents, have taken a massive step towards going ahead.”
He added: “With increasing worldwide demand for warehousing space close to and within cities, we believe Rectory Farm’s creative solution of putting such infrastructure underground whilst enhancing the surface environment could inspire similar approaches elsewhere.”
Samantha Smith, senior director at commercial property consultants CBRE, said: “We are thrilled to be involved in such a massively pioneering project that will establish a new concept in the UK for a new resource for urban logistics.
“Whilst there is a lot of interest in multi-storey, multi-level warehousing development, Rectory Farm’s underground approach is exactly right for its location. It will be the biggest such speculative development within the M25 and its technical and operational aspects are already proven at existing locations in other parts of the world.”
Bridget Outtrim, director at estate agents Savills, said: “Rectory Farm offers a pioneering and innovative solution to the shortage of industrial space inside the M25. Its key feature is its unique combination of quantum of developable space and close proximity to West London’s growing population.”
News of the warehousing site’s approval progress comes as the hotel group Arora put forward plans for an alternative development to construct a third runway at Heathrow, which it says will result in savings of up to £6.7bn on the current proposal, which is subject to public consultation after receiving government approval last year.
Arora says that its plans would reduce the footprint of the current expansion site by over 23%, thereby “reducing the amount of demolition and groundworks required, also leading to significant reduction in compulsory purchase costs”.
Huge underground space to be dug under West London farmland
A large plot of farmland near Heathrow Airport is to be turned into a vast subterranean city, with a public park on the top.
The 44 hectare site just to the north-eastern corner of the airport, and next to the main Bath Road was the Rectory Farm, but it also happens to sit on one of the UK’s largest sites for extracting high-quality gravel.
Historically the 110 acres of green belt land was agricultural but has not been farmed since 1996, and is currently sealed off from the public.
Ordinarily, a gravel mine is dug out as an open-cast mine and then often the depression in the ground eventually turns into a lake. A large shallow lake is ideal for birds and wildlife, but not when its next to a major airport, so an alternative plan was looked for.
What will happen is that the mine will be dug out in sections, and then the bottom where the gravel has been removed will be replaced with a large series of concrete basements.
Eventually, when some 3 million tonnes of gravel have been mined out of the farmland, the were will be an underground space of some 180,000 square-meters.
This could be used for warehousing, as the site is ideally placed for both the M4 and the airport, but some of it is expected to be turned into sports and leisure facilities.
Above ground, the former farmland will be turned into a public park that will be around three times the size of Green Park in central London.
People playing above ground will be just metres from a vast concrete bunker just beneath their feet. The rent from bunker below ground will also provide the revenues to maintain the park above ground.
The warehouse and sports facilities are also expected to create up to 2,500 new jobs.
Planning permission was granted this week for the project to go ahead, after it was previously reviewed by the Mayor of London.
Work is expected to begin in 2019 with the first area of the park opening in 2020 and the first underground warehouse space is expected to be available for businesses to use from 2022 during a 15 year period of extraction, construction and landscaping activity.
Heathrow has said it hopes to double the amount of air freight it carries, if it gets a 3rd runway. Most of this freight arrives at the airport, or leaves the airport, in diesel powered lorries or vans. Heathrow knows it has real problems worsening local air quality, with particulates and NO2 in particular. The Airports Commission report was particularly weak on NO2 air pollution, and ignored the emissions from Heathrow’s air cargo. In March 2016 Heathrow put out the news that it is trying to get freight companies to consolidate some loads, share journeys etc. Now Heathrow has put out a similar story, about a new App it has produced. This new load consolidation App is called “Heathrow CargoCloud.” It might save companies a bit of money, and it might slightly cut the number of trucks, and hence the levels of NO2 air pollution. The illegal levels of air pollution are a real problem for Heathrow, and neither the airport nor the government has any realistic means of getting these down in the short term. In reality, getting a few trucks off the road – though very welcome – is not going to be enough to negate a planned doubling of freight tonnage. Heathrow hopes its App will make Heathrow “an airport of choice for cargo.” ie. attract more freight (and more congestion and air pollution) cancelling out any improvements …
Heathrow Airport is inviting trucking companies and freight forwarders to reduce emissions by using its new load consolidation app, part of Heathrow CargoCloud.
Cargo operators will be able to consolidate freight loads coming in and out of Heathrow, with the aim of not only improving efficiency but also reducing the number of trucks and emissions on the road around the airport.
Companies subscribing to Heathrow CargoCloud will be able to exchange and share information about any spare capacity on their vehicles, or ask for help on a load they need transporting, and the app will work to match them and they contact each other offline and discuss the opportunity.
Heathrow head of cargo, Nick Platts says: “Operating a cleaner, leaner and more efficient freight operation is an essential part of delivering on our ambition to be the best airport in Europe for cargo. CargoCloud offers benefits to the whole industry.”
“For our cargo partners it allows them to reduce their costs, our local communities will experience less congestion and improved air quality, and Heathrow will build on its strength as an airport of choice for cargo.”
Heathrow worked in partnership with Nallian to create the app, and chief executive officer (CEO) Jean Verheyen adds: “Today, this vision is made concrete through the new tool to reduce emissions and traffic congestions. Tomorrow, shared data can be used to further synchronise cross-company processes, allowing clusters of independent companies to achieve efficiency levels that are historically reserved to fully integrated players only.”
DHL Global Forwarding CEO BELUX, Luc Jacobs says: “As a driver of innovation in our industry, we fully support initiatives that allow us to do our job a little bit better every day. We are big supporters of cloud based community systems because when done well, they have the potential to enable substantial efficiencies and eliminate waste in the supply chain at the same time.”
Heathrow air cargo includes “80 million animals per year” – and largest import is fresh beans
December 29, 2016
In a long and breathlessly excited and impressed account, a writer for the Daily Mail records his trip to Heathrow cargo warehouses. There are some interesting insights. He says Heathrow handles 80 million animals per year, including “280,000 reptiles, 28 million fish, 16,000 cats and dogs, 2,000 birds and 200 horses every year.” … and “including bears, lions, penguins, elephants and tigers.” (There may be good reasons to question the environmental sustainability or morality of shipping non-domestic animals in this manner …) Some of the animals in the Animal Health Centre in Feltham have been seized from smugglers, such as number of African pygmy hedgehogs. Apart from the animals there are vast amounts of flowers and perishable goods. Huge amounts of bell peppers, cucumbers and salmon are shipped to the Far East and the US every day. Some 100 tonnes of salmon, “from countries such as Scotland and Norway” are flown overseas each day. Luxury cars are shipped by air, and ship parts. Drugs are sent when needed urgently. One of the most daft shipments was “ice cubes sent from London for a swanky cocktail party in Korea” … as well as “rolls of carpets; barrels of olive oil; art, paintings and antiques.”… “The biggest import into the UK are fresh beans, but also berries, asparagus and exotic fruits.”
Heathrow produces some unconvincing attempts to persuade that its air pollution from freight will be reduced
March 23, 2016
Heathrow knows it has real problems worsening local air quality, with vehicles associated with the airport adding a great deal of pollution. The Airports Commission report was particularly weak on NO2 air pollution, and ignored the emissions from Heathrow’s air cargo. Heathrow has now put out a short document attempting to convince that it is making serious improvements to local air quality. On air freight, it says it will be getting shippers to share lorry journeys. Heathrow says in 2016 it will: “• Keep pushing for greater consolidation of vehicle loads at Heathrow and aim to provide an online venue for freight operators to buy and sell empty space on their trucks by July. • Establish a sustainable freight partnership with operators by September with the objective of reducing emissions [No clue what that actually means ?] • Develop and publish our plans for building a call-forward cargo facility to reduce congestion, idling, and emissions of vehicles coming to Heathrow by the end of the year.” So that does not look like much. But Heathrow is trying to persuade the government soon. The reality is that Heathrow hopes to double its volume of air freight, with a new runway – and that freight is carried in diesel vehicles, and lorries are not producing less air pollution.
Heathrow hoping to woo air freight companies with plans to give air freight more priority
May 14, 2016
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.
Heathrow plans to double its volume of air freight, necessitating more trips by diesel powered HGVs and goods vehicles
November 6, 2015
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.
Air cargo tonnage at Heathrow falling recently, and only 1.76% higher in 2014 than in 2010
November 22, 2015
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-Kaye 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.
The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago, carrying imports. Now the first return trip is being made, on 10th April, leaving Essex, on the 7,500 mile trip. Thirty containers contain British produced goods including whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals. The DB Cargo locomotive leaves the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China. After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through France, Belgium, Duisburg in Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, arriving at Yiwu on 27th April. The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea. The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West. The train link means products can be both imported and exported from the UK, as well as by ship – with both being far lower carbon modes of transport than air. Heathrow claims it is vital to the UK economy because of its exports of items like pharmaceuticals and whisky. But it makes better sense to ship these by rail, rather than use so much fuel getting them up to 38,000 feet …. Items that are non-perishable do not need to be air freighted. Frozen fish (Scottish salmon) can be carried by rail. . Tweet
First UK rail freight service to China to depart
The first rail freight train from China to the UK arrived three months ago
The first rail freight service from the UK to China will depart on a 7,500-mile journey from Essex on Monday.
Thirty containers filled with British produced goods were setting off on the 7,500-mile journey from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. They include whisky, soft drinks, vitamins, baby products and pharmaceuticals.
A DB Cargo locomotive will leave the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Stanford-le-Hope for the city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province, eastern China.
After going through the Channel Tunnel the train will pass through seven other countries before arriving on 27 April.
These are France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany before InterRail pull the cargo through Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazahkstan and arrive at Yiwu, eastern China on April 27.
The operators say it is cheaper to send goods by train than by air and faster than by sea.
The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West dating back more than 2,000 years.
DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said it was a “significant trade occasion”.
“DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before,” he added.
“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”
The first rail freight service in the opposite direction, from China to the UK, arrived three months ago.
The journey is cheaper than air freight and faster than sea freight.
The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West, initially created more than 2,000 years ago.
International trade minister Greg Hands said: “This new rail link with China is another boost for global Britain, following the ancient Silk Road trade route to carry British products around the world.
“It shows the huge global demand for quality UK goods and is a great step for DP World’s £1.5 billion London Gateway port as it also welcomes its first regular container ships from Asia.”
DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the first freight service from the UK to China is a “significant trade occasion”.
He went on: “DP World London Gateway, one of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, is designed and developed to ensure products can be both imported and exported from the UK via ship or train in a faster, safer and more reliable way than ever before.
“We look forward to enabling and facilitating more trade between the UK, China and the whole world.”
New data has revealed over £7 billion worth of British exports travelled to China via Heathrow between August 2014 and July 2015, representing a 117% increase on the previous 12 months and over 15% of total UK export goods via Heathrow by value.
China starts rail cargo link from Shanghai to London (Barking) – cheaper than air freight, faster than sea
January 5, 2017
China has launched its first freight train to London, travelling from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China (near Shanghai) to Barking. The trip will take around 18 days to travel over 7,400 miles (about 6,200 miles, as the crow flies). The route runs through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, on the way to London. The UK is the eighth country to be added to the China-Europe service, and London is the 15th city. There are hopes that it will strengthen China- UK ties. The railway is a major strategic development to assist Xi Jinping’s multi-billion dollar ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy. The plan is to create a trade network connecting Asia with Africa and Europe along old Silk Road trading routes. There are currently 39 routes linking 16 Chinese cities to 12 European cities. The train to London carried a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items. In October a train arrived in Hamburg from China after a 13 day trip. Its 45 containers carried consumer goods, furniture, clothes, lamps and electronics, which were then transported to various European cities. The trains returning to China have carried items such as German meat products, Russian woods and French wines. Transporting goods by rail is a much cheaper and lower carbon method than air freight via Heathrow, and faster than sea cargo.