Heathrow press releases

03 November, 2015

Heathrow announces plan to double cargo volumes



  • £180m investment into revolutionising cargo announced at today’s BCC conference
  • Faster more efficient cargo movements will encourage airlines to increase freight capacity, boosting the UK’s global export competitiveness


UK exporters are set to benefit from the doubling of cargo volumes at Heathrow, the UK’s biggest port for goods by value.

Faster and more efficient cargo movements are vital in improving the UK’s export competiveness and maximising economic benefits. As Britain’s global gateway, Heathrow connects British exporters to global markets and makes it easier for investors to come to the UK. With four out of five of all long haul flights coming from Heathrow, the airport is critical to the UK’s position as a hub for international trade.

The blueprint plans were developed with key stakeholders and announced by CEO John Holland-Kaye at today’s BCC conference, as part of a 15 year vision to invest around £180million in revolutionising its cargo facilities, processes and people. The blueprint includes proposals for a specialist pharmaceutical storage area - to support airlines to move highly valuable and temperature sensitive medicines – as well as better infrastructure to reduce congestion and smoother processes, all enabling freight to flow better through the airport and halving  process time from 8-9 hours, to four hours.


In addition, freight forwarders using Heathrow will benefit from:

Air to air transit – a facility located on the airfield which will enable smoother handling of transit cargo that arrives by air and is due to fly out by air.  This will shorten connection times from a current average of 6+ hours

Becoming 100% ‘e-freight ready  –  working with businesses, airlines, IATA, HMRC and the DfT to fully implement e-Freight at Heathrow.  This reduces the need for lengthy paper work and will be one of the first airports to become 100% digital.

A new truck parking facility – a waiting area for drivers which will cater for over 100 vehicles and offer secure parking, access control, toilets/showers and dining facilities

Heathrow has developed its vision to overhaul the cargo facilities after working closely with stakeholders including freight forwarders, Government, exporters and British businesses, forming an ambition to become one of the leading European airports for cargo. These improvements will also encourage airlines to bring cargo friendly aircraft with greater freight capacity to Heathrow, which are typically more modern, greener and quieter.


Chris Welsh – FTA Director of Global and European Policy said:

“Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is excellent news, and exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for.  The significance of air freight is often overlooked, but today’s announcement illustrates that Heathrow Airport has listened very carefully to ourselves and the freight industry.  The improvements it is proposing are essential to the growth and success of the UK economy.”


Addressing the BCC conference, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport. This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1 trillion export target by 2020.”  


John Holland-Kaye's full speech to the BCC's annual conference is available in full in the downloads section.