Online shopping boosts cargo volumes at London Stansted airport

Air cargo at London Stansted. Picture: Tony Pick Photography

Air cargo at London Stansted. Picture: Tony Pick Photography - Credit: Tony Pick Photography

The volume of cargo being handled at Stansted airport has been eclipsing the rates normally see in the run up to Christmas.

In July, London Stansted saw a 43.6 percent increase in volume compared to 2019 and in August, they had a 25 percent increase compared to 2019.

At East Midlands Airports, home to the UK’s largest dedicated air cargo operation, there was an increase of 21.2 percent in July compared to 2019 and 18.5 percent increase in August.

Manchester Airgroups Group (MAG) said growth was driven by online shopping during the pandemic and the reduction in passenger flights where baggage hold of passenger aircraft is not as available.

Many airlines have scaled back long-haul passenger operations, resulting in less belly-hold capacity, especially on popular routes to the US.

There have been extra weekly flights between London Stansted and the USA. At East Midlands Airport there has been a 120 percent increase in the volume of goods travelling to and from JFK Airport in New York, with an average of 60 additioanl cargo flights during June, July and August.

MAG said these volumes are eclipsing what would normally be expected during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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MAG Group Aviation Director, Aboudy Nasser, said: “The last few months have seen a seismic shift in the way we live our lives. While much has been made of the changes to the way people travel, behind the scenes our airports have been leading the charge in helping the logistics sector adapt to rising demand for dedicated air cargo and changes in the way goods are transported.

“This underlines the vital role MAG airports play in supporting the UK economy as it gets back on its feet, and the critical role of air cargo in moving essential products quickly across the globe.”

Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Stansted is generally thought of as somewhere to start your holiday or perhaps a business trip.

“These figures show its importance for exporters and importers too and how it is increasingly a major contributor to not just the Essex economy but that of the UK generally and why it is so important to businesses in Essex.”