Importance of Heathrow Expansion in Light of Brexit


With aviation said to be growing at a rate of 5% each year, the industry is booming. London is known as the capital of aviation, with its six airports handling a staggering 150 million passengers every year. This is more than both Tokyo and New York. However, both Gatwick and Heathrow airports have been working way beyond what they were originally designed for.

To meet the current demands of the air freight industry, the FTA is proposing a number of changes, including expansion of Heathrow airport. Here, we’ll look at why an expansion is important, particularly in light of Brexit.

Why is expansion important?

Expanding the Heathrow airport is important both in terms of commercial flights and air freight capacity. It would provide more flights to and from the airport, as well as open up a lot of new jobs and significantly increase the economy. Experts predict it would actually deliver £74 billion to both passengers and the wide economy.

According to the FTA, air freight currently accounts for 40% of UK exports and imports. However, the industry is currently halted due to insufficient capacity. As Britain will be required to create new trade agreements with Europe and the rest of the world after Brexit, it’s going to be relying upon its air freight industry more than ever.

What changes is the FTA proposing?

In order to meet increased demand and ensure the air freight industry continues to flourish, the FTA is proposing two main changes.

Firstly, it recommends adding a third runway at Heathrow. The other change includes increased protection for early-morning arrivals to the airport which commonly carry crucial same-day cargo items.

The airport itself is planning a large expansion, alongside a cargo strategy. It is working to boost its freight capacity to a staggering 3 million tonnes each year by 2040. The airport also reassures that this won’t lead to an increase in freight vehicles on the roads. Instead, they are looking to minimise the amount of cargo vehicle journeys.

What impact will the changes at Heathrow have on air freight?

Introducing these proposed changes will have a significant on the air freight industry. Increased air cargo shipments will help to boost the sector, ensuring Heathrow can keep up with increasing demand. It will enable the industry to continue operating which in turn will bring in a lot more profit into the UK.

Brexit has been a major uncertainty for businesses across the UK, particularly the aviation sector. So, now that it’s drawing to a close, focus needs to be on expanding the air freight services so the country can strike up lucrative trade deals internationally.