East Midlands Airport remains essential in unprecedented times

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East Midlands Airport (EMA) is benefiting from increased cargo as passenger numbers drop.  

New figures show EMA, home to the UK’s largest air cargo operation, has increased its flight activity during the Coronavirus pandemic, handling over 1,000 tons of cargo a day as logistics giants DHL, UPS, FedEx and Royal Mail continue to operate.

In the week immediately following the government’s announcement about stricter social distancing measures on March 16, the number of cargo aircraft movements increased by 10% at EMA. Across the two weeks to March 29, cargo aircraft movements increased by an average of 7.4% a day. 

Karen Smart, East Midlands Airport’s managing director, says: “East Midlands Airport is providing around the clock support to the fight back against Covid-19. It is at times like these when EMA really demonstrates its national value and shows how important airfreight is to keeping Britain moving.  

“The airport is a vital lifeline for businesses that need to get products to market quickly, the NHS front-line, and those R&D companies that are working flat out to develop new medicines which can help combat crippling viruses such as Covid-19. 

“Our location means that we’re perfectly placed to serve a huge population, some of whom are in urgent need of rapid deliveries. We are still open for business 24 hours a day and so the role we play in the coming weeks and months will only step up a gear as EMA and our onsite logistics partners act as the gateway to the UK for essential goods.” 

This growth has been driven by the need for urgent medical and PPE equipment; additional ad-hoc flights as other airports close; the reduction in long-haul passenger flights from other UK airports which would normally carry cargo and social distancing measures that have led to more online shopping and home delivery, many of which come from overseas stockists. 

The latest European air traffic statistics, published by Eurocontrol, show that EMA has seen the smallest drop in flight numbers of any major airport in Europe over the last week, followed by Bergen, Stavanger and Cologne. 

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