Manchester Airport has seen cargo volumes pass the 100,000 tonne mark again during the 2015/16 financial year, with valuable products such as luxury cars helping drive the growth.
During the year, Manchester handled 103,437 tonnes of cargo, the first time since 2011/12 that the figure has been above 100,000. Manchester Airport handled £6 billion ($8.7 billion) of trade during the financial year.
Of that figure, more than 50,000 tonnes went to the Middle Eastern locations of Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Qatar. Among the interesting items were luxury cars including Lamborghinis, Bentleys and a Jensen Interceptor, transported by Emirates.
Emirates also transported a one-off Speedback GT built by David Brown Automotive, worth £500,000 from Manchester to Dubai for an event at the Dubai World Trade Centre in November.
Manchester Airports Group business development manager – cargo and general aviation, Conan Busby (pictured) says: “With our World Freight Terminal, which is 30 years old this year, and our expanding Airport City global logistics hub, we are well placed to serve any type of cargo need for a whole range of products or customers.
“As this year progresses we predict this increase will continue and the main trends will be further growth in the e-commerce industry with China and the Middle East being huge growth markets.”
Manchester Airport chief executive officer, Ken O’Toole says many of Manchester’s routes are unavailable elsewhere outside of London. “This underlines they airport’s role as an key enabler of growth and we expect the launch of more long haul new services to the likes of Beijing, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco to drive up export volumes in the coming months and years.”
Emirates has also been using Manchester for transporting foodstuff, including Welsh coast crabs destined for China, as well as UK food for expats based in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai was Manchester’s top performing freight route, handling 21,661 tonnes, followed by Abu Dhabi at 16,901 tonnes and Doha at 13,318 tonnes. During the year, Etihad Airways increased capacity by upgrading services from an Airbus A330 to a Boeing 777-300ER.
Asian volumes have also been on the rise, helped by Cathay Pacific starting Manchester – Hong Kong services in December 2014, which has resulted in 6,000 tonnes of cargo so far.
E-commerce is an increasingly popular export to Asia, because of the popularity of companies such as Amazon Prime, Alibaba and Net-a-Porter.