FTA demands government focuses on airfreight

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The Freight Transport Association is demanding for a dedicated freight chapter in the UK government consultation Aviation 2050 – the future of UK aviation.

Stressing that airfreight will play a pivotal role in achieving post-Brexit trading ambitions, the association says the government must set out a clear and ambitious vision for airfreight.

Alex Veitch, head of multimodal policy at the FTA says as airfreight represents around 40% of UK imports and exports by value, and the importance will only increase following Brexit, the White Paper must have a dedicated airfreight chapter.

Veitch and the association are calling for the government to adopt a more ambitious stance to grow global trade, such as liberalising visa requirements for travelling business passengers.

He says: “While a third runway at Heathrow Airport is an essential step forward, FTA also needs to see freight growth at all other UK airports, for example by providing clearer direction to planning authorities that they should support industry to make best use of capacity. Failure to provide suitable freight capabilities will only mean bleak prospects for British businesses seeking new global markets.”

Veitch adds that surface access is a major barrier to growth, calling for the government to commission an Airport Connectivity Study to highlight where transport links and freight parking facilities need to be improved and set a programme for action.

He says: “Security should also be a priority and policies consistently implemented across Whitehall departments. Digitalisation is also crucial and while government support for industry initiatives is welcome, government should also review where in the supply chain they require paper documents and move these to digital.”