Date: 17.06.2021

Air Freight Update; Central UK hub re-opens for Metro air freight arrivals

With increased support from key carrier partners, Metro has recommenced routing air freight traffic directly to our Birmingham Airport hub, from key Middle East and Asia origins, as well as trucking consignments directly from southern airports and mainland Europe.

Alongside Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports, Birmingham International is one of the UK’s only designated airports for direct flights from red-list countries, which has been critical in maintaining passenger aircraft belly-hold freight capacity into our Midlands air freight hub. 

Emirates SkyCargo and Qatar Airways will be operating three weekly direct scheduled flights into Birmingham Airport from June, using wide-bodied aircraft for greater cargo capacity, that will add significantly to inbound volumes, making the gateway airport even more attractive to passengers and air cargo and providing a strategic alternative in avoiding more congested routes.

The scale and efficiency of the airport and cargo handling operations at Birmingham, together with with our long-standing strategic partnerships with these operators, enables us to process and collect cargo very quickly, after aircraft arrival, avoiding the delays and congestion experienced in peak periods at other UK hubs.

Selecting Birmingham International, the UK’s fastest-growing airport, as our central air freight hub, was the natural choice for four key reasons: proximity to major clients and manufacturing regions; speed of first mile/ final mile logistics; access to key carrier partners and growing services; and proximity to London, with 90% of the UK population within a few hours drive.

With our Heathrow operation moving to a a larger freight centre, we are even better positioned to help our air freight customers benefit from route/rate choices, expedite inbound freight and proactively avoid congestion, by dividing volumes between Heathrow and Birmingham and moving sealed air freight units (under bond) directly to our ETSF (bonded warehouse) facilities from Europe’s air freight hubs.

We continue to expand our air freight platform and products, including the operation of regular charters from China into the UK and European mainland. Subject to demand remaining strong, we will increase charter services to a minimum of two pure freighters a week from Q3 into the UK directly.

We will be looking at additional origins, based on the demand from our customers, as we enter traditional peak season later this year.

By working closely with key partner airlines over many years, we have developed the strong strategic relationship necessary to share critical data on cargo flows, that gives the carriers the confidence to increase capacity on existing route and introduce new services, which offers our customers reliable and cost effective air freight solutions, even during the pandemic. Which means that, even with restricted bellyhold capacity, we continue to deliver reliable schedules and consistent time critical services, in what is expected to be a very busy air freight market in the back half of 2021.

For further information on our air freight solution please contact Elliot Carlile or Grant Liddell to arrange a meeting or discussion with regard to your air freight requirements and we will provide further detail and a bespoke service and offering in the current global logistics market ensuring that goods that may have been delayed through ocean freight delays, production failures or high demand reach your markets when required.