Gatwick opens up the world to local businesses

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Air China touches down at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is providing local businesses with export opportunities with £7.5 billion of goods passing through the West Sussex airport.

Over two thirds of the airfreight, valued at £5.3 billion and coming in at 61,000 tonnes was exported, and the other £2.2 billion, or 35,600 tonnes was imported, according to the research carried out by Oxford Economics.

The report looked at businesses that trade internationally in the seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond region and found them to be more export focused, with the proportion of local businesses sending goods to international markets 50 per cent greater than the rest of the UK.

The seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond are Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, Horsham, Tandridge, Crawley, Mole Valley and Mid Sussex.

Over 11 per cent of Gatwick Diamond businesses export goods compared to the UK average of 7.2 per cent, with 60 per cent of Diamond’s exports going to non-European markets, compared to the national average of 51 per cent.

Gatwick Growth Board chairman and former UK government transport minister, Steve Norris says Gatwick is a “nationally significant infrastructure asset”, adding: “Much of the region’s economic activity is centred around the airport, which is why there is a greater concentration of company headquarters clustered in the region around Gatwick than in London.

“This constellation of high value industries attracts significant foreign investment and trade activity and the access the airport gives them to international markets is a key reason why they invest and locate in the region.”

Gatwick Diamond Business chief executive, Jeremy Taylor welcomed the report but says more can and must be done.

He says: “Too many businesses and cargo companies send their goods past Gatwick and round the M25 to Heathrow. As the airport’s long-haul network grows, so too do welcome opportunities for local firms to use Gatwick as their local global gateway.”

The airport’s long-haul network of 67 destinations was singled out in the report as important for trade outside the European Union, with cargo flying in the belly of passenger aircraft.

Top non-EU destinations for Surrey, East and West Sussex exports are the USA at £2.5 billion, China at £450 million, Japan at £250 million and Russia at £200 million.