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Heathrow Steps Up Cargo Operations


Heathrow calls on industry to use available capacity in fight against COVID-19


The UK’s largest port is ramping up cargo capacity and safeguarding vital supply lines needed to get medical goods and food to the nation as it tackles the global COVID-19 epidemic

Logistics companies have already begun importing key equipment such as COVID-19 testing kits via Heathrow, in preparation for increased demand

Next week, cargo movements are forecast to surge by 53%, compared to the weekly average, as the airport prioritises cargo flights with medical supplies which will assist in the fight against COVID-19

41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical products such as medicines, vaccines and respirators are imported via Heathrow.

Heathrow will be stepping up its cargo capabilities as it calls on more airlines and freight companies to maximise the use of the hub airport’s quieter schedule so that the aviation industry can play its part in the economic and social fight against COVID-19. Air freight will keep vital supply lines open and help to get time-critical and temperature-sensitive goods, such as medical supplies and food across the UK as the country pulls together to battle this pandemic.


Logistics companies have already begun playing a key role in this fight, by importing COVID-19 testing kits via Heathrow, in preparation for increased demand. Next week, Heathrow’s cargo movements are forecast to increase by 53%, as more airlines and freighters use the available capacity to transport goods which will assist in the fight against coronavirus. This figure is set to increase further as the airport scales up its cargo operation. Pharmaceutical products are one of Heathrow’s top imports, with the airport handling 41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical imports (by value). In 2019, over 12,000 tonnes of medical supplies such as medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, syringes and respirators travelled through the airport.


During normal operations, Heathrow is the UK’s largest port by value. 34% of the country’s cargo travels through the airport, with the majority of that cargo (95%) being carried in the belly hold of passenger planes. Whilst passenger travel remains restricted for many, airports will continue to play a key role in keeping the UK’s supply chain alive, for both essential workers and goods. This is why Heathrow will be repurposing its operation and scaling up its cargo offering at this difficult time.


Heathrow is also taking a number of steps to assist the airline industry during this challenging time. These steps i