Heathrow Cargo

Cargo loading at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow cargo hits five-year high

Global British trade at Heathrow soared in March, with volumes surging nearly 13% to 148,000 metric tonnes – the largest monthly growth in over five years.

As the UK’s largest port, Heathrow is a key enabler of British trade handling over 30% of non-EU exports and more cargo by value than all other UK airports combined.

Emerging markets in Asia and South America spearheaded the Airport’s cargo growth with exports to Mexico rising by 28%, Brazil 13%, India 9% and China 5%.

The airport also saw exports to Indonesia rise (up over 9,000%) after Garuda Indonesia moved to Heathrow from Gatwick last year.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Surging trade, more domestic connections and more long-haul growth are the bedrock of the UK’s economy.

“Today’s figures put Britain in a strong position as the Government begins Brexit negotiations and underline the unique role Heathrow plays as the nation’s global gateway.

“Our expansion plans will give Britain the tools to do even better. We’ll double our domestic connections and add up to 40 new long-haul trading links, making the UK the best-connected country on earth.

“It’s a huge prize that only Heathrow delivers and we’re getting on with securing it for Britain.”

Tom Fourcade, director of export and investments for Southern England at the Department for International Trade, said: “Exporting is a proven route to business growth and whatever your sector, there’s a market out there for your products or services.

"These statistics prove that the world wants to buy what we’re selling. For them, brand UK is a mark of quality, innovation and excellence.

"Companies interested in breaking into overseas markets and taking advantage of the global appetite for UK goods and services should visit the new online trade hub, great.gov.uk, part of the Government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative.”

Looking forward, the team at Heathrow will be hoping this trend continues after China Southern confirmed it will double cargo capacity on one of Britain’s most strategic trading routes when it launches an additional service to Guangzhou in June, further boosting export opportunities for British business.

And it isn’t just cargo volumes which are soaring at the airport either. Overall passenger volumes were up nearly 5% in March with a record 6.16 million passengers travelling through the UK’s hub, driven by growth to East Asia (+8%), Latin America (+7%) and the Middle East (+6%) in addition to strong domestic volumes boosted by Flybe’s new services to Scotland.