East Midlands airport flies out more than a million Christmas parcels every day

East Midlands
Karen Smart

More than a million packages were flown in and out of East Midlands Airport each night, making this December one of the busiest ever.

Fuelling this growth is e-commerce, with increasing numbers of people shopping for Christmas presents online. Goods coming through the airport range from clothes to super-cars, which reflects the variation in budgets that people put aside for Christmas spending. In total, goods to and from both the EU and non-EU countries equates to 1000 tonnes a day.

Earlier this year the airport hit a significant milestone when the value of goods shipped to and from non-EU countries through Airport in the 12 months leading up to July exceeded £10bn for the first time ever. Of this, £5.3bn was exports.

Through EMA, and its connections to air cargo hubs in Europe and the USA, UK businesses export all over the world. Latin America, Asia, North America and the Middle East are some of the biggest regions for exports.

The airport expects further growth to its freight operation this year as the work to build a new £114m UPS facility will near completion. This will double UPS’s capacity and employ 1,000 people.

East Midlands Airport is the UK’s most important for dedicated air cargo traffic. It is second only to Heathrow in terms of the total tonnage of cargo that passes through it annually. Its role in facilitating global trade makes it a key national asset. As a driver of regional growth, it has been key to the rapid expansion of the SEGRO East Midlands Gateway (EMG) Logistics Park next door.

EMA is home to some of the world’s largest express freight operators including DHL, UPS, TNT/FedEx and Royal Mail. Flights are also handled on behalf of many clients including Amazon.

Karen Smart, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director and LLEP Board member, said: “As people’s shopping habits change and the demand for next-day deliveries increase, so too will the cargo operation here.

“We’re a four-hour truck drive from 90% of the urban population of England and Wales which makes us perfectly positioned to facilitate the delivery of goods to a huge number of people and businesses.

“A key part of my focus is managing this growth sustainably. By this we mean incentivising operators to use quieter, larger and more efficient aircraft so that the number of flights doesn’t necessarily have to increase.

“This is particularly important to minimise the impact on local communities at night time, as we are a 24/7 airport.”