Bournemouth Airport launches dedicated cargo handling service

Bournemouth Airport in the UK has officially launched a dedicated cargo handling service, called ‘Cargo First’.

The airport’s cargo operation was virtually non-existent before April 2020 and the Covid-19 crisis, but will see 20,000 tonnes of throughput by the end of March 2022. Bournemouth Airport said that, based on 2020 statistics, that makes it the fastest growing UK cargo hub and on the verge of breaking into the UK’s top ten busiest cargo airports.

The airport said it was playing a “central role” in enabling commercial exports from the UK to the USA with European Cargo Limited, which now operates a fleet of widebody cargo aircraft. It also provided relief during the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing in hundreds of millions of items of PPE and test kits to the UK.

“The launch of Cargo First consolidates the critical work of the team at Bournemouth Airport during the past two years,” said Andrew Bell, CEO of Bournemouth Airport owner Regional & City Airports. “We quickly recognised the opportunity to stand up a new trade lane and facilitate exports from the UK to the USA, as well as supporting the temporary demand for PPE and test kits.

“Cargo First is well connected to London by road and we can have consignments in the market faster than through hub airports. Additionally, our unique ‘One Team’ approach means our customers don’t have to deal with multiple vendors, giving them greater simplicity, efficiency, and speed-to-market.”

Bournemouth Airport noted its 24/7 capability and “ample airfield space to establish new facilities”, and said some of the advantages of Cargo First included uncongested airspace, open slot availability and cheaper tariffs versus larger hubs,

Regional & City Airports said it would make a multi-million-pound investment in infrastructure during the coming year.

Bournemouth Airport’s managing director Steve Gill commented: “We are excited to be putting energy and investment into our cargo operation, especially considering we’ve come from nowhere to be knocking on the door of the top 10 cargo airports in the country. We’ve already added nearly 100 jobs, and there is potential to create hundreds more over next five years. It is an exceptional achievement, and we look forward to seeing our excellent service enjoyed by many more customers.”

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