30 MARCH 2020
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Easily the UK’s largest port Heathrow is ramping up cargo capacity and safeguarding vital supply lines as it tackles the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This week the airport’s freight movements are forecast to surge by 53%, compared to the normal average, as the airport prioritises cargo flights with medical supplies. Imported via Heathrow Airport are 41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical products including medicines, vaccines and respirators.
In 2019, over 12,000 tonnes of medical supplies traversed the airport.
During normal operations, Heathrow is the UK’s largest port by value; 34% of the country’s cargo travels through the airport, with the majority of that cargo (95%) being carried in the belly hold of passenger planes.
Heathrow is also taking a number of steps to assist the airline industry during this challenging time. These steps include supporting slot alleviation – a relaxation of the rules requiring airlines to use their slots to keep them, offering free parking to aircraft grounded as a result of COVID-19 and bringing forward growth incentive payments which have helped to increase cashflow for airlines during a challenging time for the sector.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Our intention is to remain open at all times to serve those passenger flights that will continue to operate.”
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