Heathrow Airport needs more routes to emerging economies like Vietnam to boost cargo volumes and UK exports, according to its chief executive officer, John Holland-Kaye.
He explains to Air Cargo Week (ACW) at the launch of Vietnam Airlines’ first flight to Hanoi on Tuesday March 31, that if Heathrow gets the go ahead to build a third runway, there will be more connections to emerging markets. The UK government’s Airports Commission will recommend where runway capacity should be expanded after the parliamentary general election, held in May. He gives his airport a 70 per cent chance of being selected by the commission.
Holland-Kaye says the move by the Asian carrier from Gatwick Airport will boost cargo volume and the UK economy as a whole. “It is a massive opportunity, as Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and we need to do business with them. We need the capacity on routes to develop trade and it is hugely important. There is 20 times more trade done with countries we have a direct route into,” Holland-Kaye says.
He tells ACW that one of the main reasons Vietnam Airlines made the move was from a cargo perspective as it is, “better and easier,” for them to carry out operations at Heathrow. Holland-Kaye adds that Vietnam will provide more frequent flights and greater cargo capacity and such routes let, “exporters in the UK do what they do so well”.
However, he does not expect to see any additional freighters if a third runway is built and sees cargo volume increasing from bellyhold traffic. Holland-Kaye says it wants to increase the capacity of cargo facilities and make operations more efficient.