1 JUNE 2020

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Article from BTNews 1 JUNE 2020

Heathrow and cargo

New government data has revealed that a third of the UK’s total imports (by value) of essential medical equipment, PPE and other tools to fight Covid-19, have arrived via Heathrow.

From January through March the airport welcomed 5,269 tonnes of specific medical cargo items urgently needed including hospital equipment, PPE, sterilisation and disinfecting products, medical oxygen, medicines, swabs and test kits.  In March alone the airport imported nearly 33% (32.9%) of the UK’s critical equipment to fight the pandemic by value, compared to all other ports in the UK including rail, air and sea ports.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines are just some of the carriers who have re-invented the use of passenger planes by using seats, overhead lockers and the hold to carry vital supplies.  In total 4,153 cargo-only flights have arrived at Heathrow so far this year – an increase of 304% compared to 2019.

Interestingly as total UK imports fall, Heathrow continues to increase.  

Commenting on the latest figures, Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy, Freight Transport Association (FTA) said: “Air cargo has been vital to maintaining the integrity of the UK’s supply chain, and helped businesses cope with unprecedented demand in areas including medical supplies, food and other essentials.  The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the resilience of the UK’s logistics industry, helped in no small part by the flexibility of air operators via Heathrow to release additional capacity to support UK Plc.”

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