Time-critical logistics specialist Priority Freight and charter airline company Jota Aviation are to create an ‘air bridge’ between mainland Europe and the UK in January 2021.

    The strategic partnership and establishment of the air bridge comes in response to expected customs challenges and the predicted congestion at ports when the UK completes its Brexit transition and leaves the European Union at the end of the year.

    The partners said the air bridge would keep supply chains moving. It will offer return journeys twice daily, using a BAe146 to transport goods between Ostend and Birmingham. The service is available for Priority Freight clients to book immediately, with any remaining pallet spaces in January available on a daily spot booking basis.

    Priority Freight group managing director Neal Williams commented: “There is still much uncertainty around what import and export processes will look like next year. Deal or no deal, the UK is leaving the European Customs Union and this will cause inevitable congestion and a tougher environment at ports.

    “We want to offer our clients some peace of mind before the festive break, by giving them opportunity to guarantee the on-time delivery of their mission critical goods in January, today – by booking space on our air bridge with Jota Aviation.”

    Jota Aviation head of commercial operations Sarah Westley said: “The purpose of this air bridge between Birmingham and Ostend is to maintain the integrity of supply chains and ensure goods get to where they need to be, on time. Hopefully our partnership with Priority Freight will prevent a few sleepless nights.”

    Priority Freight noted that it had authorised economic operator full (AEOF) status at all of its UK locations, including the Midlands – where the air bridge will operate in the UK. The company’s Coventry office also manages custom storage facilities including its own external temporary storage facilities (ETSF) and customs warehouse.

    The ETSF allows Priority Freight to place non-EU goods into storage prior to customs procedures or re-exportation. This means the company can retain the goods required for customs inspection only, while the remainder of the shipment can be delivered without delay.