Heathrow Airport saw 5% surge in air cargo volumes in February: CEBR

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March 12, 2018:  Heathrow Airport recently released results of its first quarterly ‘Export Climate Index’, which was commissioned by Heathrow to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The index indicted that the UK’s export climate is in its strongest position since the index began in 2000. 

The CEBR analysis revealed that six of Britain’s key trading routes accounted for nearly 20 percent of the trade through Heathrow, which are already full. It includes Shanghai, Tokyo Haneda, Delhi, Mumbai, Los Angeles and Dubai.

Similarly, its 19th consecutive month that Heathrow has recorded growth in  cargo value, which saw a jump by five percent during February, thanks to the growth in North American and East Asian markets. 

Heathrow handled a record 5.4 million passengers in February, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to last year. Emerging markets were a key source of growth, with South Asia up by 12.7 percent and Latin America up by 6.5 percent. The domestic routes also grew strongly in February, up by 3.6 percent as regional airline FlyBe carried additional 17,000 passengers in February.

The index considered eight measures, such as Heathrow flight numbers, including passenger flights, which overall carries 95percent of the airport’s cargo volumes. Over the last decade, CEBR has found a rise in Heathrow’s share in the value of non-EU export to about 30 percent. Its value of cargo also grew exponentially by over 150 percent.  In 2017, £48.9 billion worth of UK exports bound for destinations outside the EU and Switzerland flew through Heathrow. 

The analysis clearly showed Heathrow’s role as the main gateway for UK exports bound outside the EU, and the airport’s role to facilitate UK trade post-Brexit, particularly with countries like the United States, which is currently the most frequent destination for airport exports.

The Index also hinted rising oil prices and the appreciation of the pound in the last three months of 2017, which was offset by UK producers’ high expectations for the future, which ultimately led to an improvement in the export climate. 

During the period, the was a rise in the consumer confidence amongst the UK trading partner nations, as government spending drove the growth in the US, and China, which currently continues to enjoy steady growth.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive, Heathrow Airport said: The February figures show that Heathrow is filling up fast. If we don’t act soon to expand our nation’s global gateway, the UK will only fall further behind our European rivals. A prosperous, global-trading Britain needs an expanded Heathrow now.”

As the UK’s largest port for non-EU exports by value, the growth of Heathrow is expected to have a direct effect on people across the UK.  The Index showed positive effects of Heathrow’s work in 2017 for increasing its efficiencies, with marginal growth its route network as it included new routes from FlyBe and Beijing Capital. 

The increase in flights had offset the decrease in sea port freight units during the last quarter of 2017.  

Heathrow is expected to release its capacity and allow connections to 40 new long haul destinations, thereby doubling its cargo capacity.  

In its earlier report, CEBR had projected that Heathrow’s third runway could add an additional £24,480 into UK’s GDP per between 2019 and 2078, compared to another runway at Gatwick. 

“The UK needs to secure its status as an outward-looking global trading nation. It’s clear that Heathrow is essential to trade outside the EU, but as we continue to operate at capacity, we may jeopardise new routes and trade with the rest of the world.  True transformative change to our flight network, and consequently the UK’s export climate, will only be achieved through our expansion to help us connect all corners of the UK to the growing markets of the world,” said Holland-Kaye.

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