"Air cargo is vital to the UK economy" is the message from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to the Airports Commission.
Outlining its concerns in a letter to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, FTA commented on the conclusions outlined in the Airports Commission’s Interim Report.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director – Global and European Policy said:
"Whilst supporting the emerging conclusions on aviation capacity, FTA would like to emphasise to the Airports Commission that air cargo is crucially important to British businesses as importers and exporters, and is a key enabler for growth and the future success of the UK economy."
FTA stated that it welcomed the thorough nature of the investigation to ensure that the solutions proposed are implemented for the long-term benefit of the UK, and added that the recognition of the need for additional airport capacity in the south east was also welcome. However, the association emphasised that it was essential that any future capacity strengthens the existing hub base of the south east of England. This additional capacity would bring not only benefits to the south east of England but to Britain as a whole through enhanced connectivity to the UK’s key overseas markets.
"The importance of London as the UK hub for freight needs to be recognised alongside passenger traffic," stressed Mr Welsh, adding: "The wider range of services that can be attracted by a major hub with transfer flights makes London the major freight hub for industry. It is critical for UK industry that new services are developed to emerging markets as this is where Heathrow is already falling behind competitors due to lack of capacity."
FTA has commissioned a report ‘Sky High Value – The importance of air freight to the UK economy’ which is due to be launched on 20 March 2014. The report will reflect FTA’s contribution to the Commission’s work and, importantly, raise the importance of air freight in the debate, which to date has focused mainly on passenger and business travel.