The port of Dover will benefit if a decision is not made on expanding UK runway capacity, as freight will travel to European airports, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) warns.
The UK government is expected to make a decision on whether it supports expanding either Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport though a final decision may not be put before parliament for another year. The FTA’s deputy chief executive, James Hookham warns that British exports will increasingly have to travel by road for cross-Channel services at Dover and the Channel Tunnel, bound for flights from countries including France, Germany or the Netherlands, increasing costs, time delays and paperwork.
Hookham says: “In a post Brexit world, Britain cannot rely on continental airports for access to its global markets. The need to maintain and develop a UK global hub airport is as important for future airfreight needs as it is for passengers.”
“FTA persuaded the independent Airports Commission to consider the case for freight. With Britain now leaving the EU, we need a decision from Government in favour of Heathrow expansion that will allow British shippers to maintain direct connections with the rest of the world and to Keep Britain Trading.”
The FTA backs a third runway at Heathrow Airport, and its own “Sky-high value – The importance of airfreight to the UK economy” report made it clear how important the airport is to the UK economy.
It says access to flights that serve destinations directly will be even more critical for exporters and importers looking to keep goods competitive and prices down in the post Brexit UK.