Call for forwarders to use UK airports outside of London
MANCHESTER Airports Group, the operator of the East Midlands, Manchester and Stansted airports, has sounded the alarm that there is the 'real potential' for the UK to lose its standing as an international gateway if it relies too heavily on London Heathrow airport for its air freight needs
MANCHESTER Airports Group, the operator of the East Midlands, Manchester and Stansted airports, has sounded the alarm that there is the 'real potential' for the UK to lose its standing as an international gateway if it relies too heavily on London Heathrow airport for its air freight needs.
MAG head of cargo Conan Busby appealed to forwarders to consider UK airports outside of London, like Manchester and Stansted, instead.
'The country cannot sit still and wait for Heathrow to get its third runway, the airport is already becoming constrained,' Mr Busby was quoted as saying in a report by The Loadstar, UK. 'If it does that it will lose ground and its dominant position - and the UK is dominant in this sector. Instead the UK must use all its available assets.'
He explained: 'What you must remember is that, while the bulk of air freight flies into Heathrow, the final destination is likely to be further afield. Forwarders can save a lot of time and resources by linking their shipments more directly to airports closer to final destinations.'
Mr Busby said that while domestic competition remained, the biggest threat came from European airports like Liege, which last year saw cargo volumes increase by 21.5 per cent to 870,644 tonnes.
Chief executive of the Belgian gateway Luc Partoune said the result was a new record. Over the next two years Liege would add 30,000 square metres of warehouse space to its operations, with all-carrier AirBridgeCargo set to make use of the new space.
The pace of growth at Liege highlights his concerns over the reliance on London Heathrow, said Mr Busby.
'The UK needs to make better use of all its infrastructure, and at MAG we are trying to attract more businesses to our three gateways which all offer significant cargo connectivity.
'Manchester has a number of new services from Jet, Ethiopian, Cathay Pacific and Hainan, not to mention all the North American carriers.'
Mr Busby added that MAG's operations were 'geared up for full-freighter operations,' with 95 per cent of cargo handled at Stansted and all the cargo at East Midlands coming on freighters.
'East Midlands' expertise is in the express sector,' he said. 'We have all the big express operators sending their flights there and they are investing heavily in enhancing their capacities to support further growth. This is in line with our goal to handle one million tonnes of cargo annually by 2040.'