Heathrow plans needed to keep Britain trading, says FTA

Tuesday 27 March 2018

With the British economy under more scrutiny than ever before thanks to the potential impact of Brexit, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest organisation representing the logistics sector, has reiterated its support for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow. Following comments from Chris Grayling MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, FTA is urging the government to make progress with the proposal for the benefit of the nation’s international trading partnerships:

“Air freight represents around 40% by value of the UK’s imports and exports,” explains Chris Welsh MBE, FTA’s Director of International Policy, “and the efficiency of Heathrow is crucial to the continued success of the nation’s trading relationships at home and abroad.

“While we understand the concerns of local residents concerning noise, FTA’s members support the balanced approach to aviation noise set out by the United Nations agency for aviation, ICAO. Overnight operations at Heathrow are already strictly controlled, with a very low number of early morning arrivals permitted. These are the minimum needed to support business and manufacturing with goods and services that are time critical to keeping British business operating smoothly.

“The planned expansion of Heathrow would increase the efficiency of the airport’s operations and ensure that the UK remains an attractive, cost effective destination for international business. At a time when other European destinations are pressuring customers to consider shifting operations away from London, an efficient Heathrow is critical to maintaining the capital’s competitiveness. Without it, the risk to the future growth of the nation’s economy is clear to see.”

As outlined by a Steer Davies Gleave report for the Department of Transport, Heathrow is the lynchpin to all air freight movements in the UK, with freight being distributed from its terminals to other airports across the country and then on to end user destinations nationwide. The early morning long haul arrivals, which transport high value freight in the belly holds of passenger flights, enable time critical cargo to be available to British business at the start of the working day, and, as Mr Welch continues, are part of a complex yet critical supply chain matrix which supports existing and new UK trade relationships:

“Heathrow’s continued connectivity and efficiency is at the heart of many, seemingly unrelated, UK business partnerships, and it is vital that the airport maintains its competitiveness in terms of freight access and pricing with airports in France, Belgium and the rest of Europe to attract trade to the capital. The expansion plans are crucial to ensuring Heathrow can continue to attract overseas business, and these trading relationships will be vital for the economy as Brexit approaches.”


FTA Press Office

01892 552255