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Airport sees huge increase in cargo volumes

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An airport that is home to the UK's largest dedicated air cargo operation has revealed it has seen huge increases in traffic since the pandemic.

East Midlands Airport has seen an increase in cargo volumes since 2019 of 23%, transporting goods such as car parts, healthcare supplies and manufacturing parts.

The airport said the Covid pandemic had resulted in significant growth.

It said it expected growth to continue and was considering expansion plans.

Ioan Reed-Aspley, the airport's head of media, said: "The cargo side of the business is not just important to this airport; it's also really important to the region.

"Businesses rely on it to get their goods to and from export markets all around the world.

"This airport gives local businesses a competitive advantage compared with businesses that don't have access to an airport like this on their doorstep."

He said the onset of the pandemic had resulted in a significant growth in volumes, with the airport handling around 406,000 tonnes of freight and mail in 2020, up by 13% on the previous year.

This increased its share of the overall UK air cargo market.

Mr Reed-Aspley said the growth had reflected greater use of e-commerce during the various lockdowns, as well as a lack of long-haul passenger flights, which would have carried goods as well as suitcases.

"What the pandemic did was turbocharge that growth," he said.

He said the airport expected a proportion of the growing volumes to stay, due to users making a permanent switch to air cargo.

The airport is currently considering expansion plans and it is currently at the heart of a freeport bid to create economic activity nearby.

"We know looking at the trajectory of growth that it is going to continue so future expansion plans will be to facilitate that growth," Mr Reed-Aspley added.

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