Thames Tap partner AIPUT has teamed up with Logistics UK to present 11 recommendations to the Government to promote sustainable growth in the air-freight industry.

The call for action follows a policy round table event held in February by AIPUT, a division of Aberdeen Standard Investments which develops property at UK airports.

The round table discussion involved representatives from various elements of the aviation industry including the warehousing sector, airlines, ground handlers, shippers and airports.

Delegates considered steps needed by both Government and the industry to secure the UK air freight industry’s future.

It currently accounts for 40 per cent of the values of UK imports and exports.

AIPUT, along with trade body Logistics UK, are calling for a renewed commitment by Government to work with industry to realise the full potential of the UK airfreight sector.

The key priorities identified for both Government and industry are set out as:

1) Positive perception of aviation: For the Government to give a clear signal of its support, valuing it as a sector of national strategic importance and a crucial component of a Global Britain

2) Joined-up approach – passenger and freight: Government support needs to be targeted at aviation in general, avoiding prioritising one sector above another

3) Infrastructure: The UK needs to deliver the highest quality transport and real estate infrastructure serving its airports in order to fully support a vibrant, sustainable and globally competitive industry

4) Funding: Government to give concessions for Air Passenger Duty (APD) and business rates to provide respite

5) EU exit: Negotiations need to be accelerated on traffic rights to open up key markets and routes, in addition to a long-term sustainable plan for freedom rights so that cargo can continue to move efficiently

6) Consumer behaviour: Digitisation in air freight is to be supported as it is essential to the growth of the new economy – the UK is currently one of the top three online shopping nations

7) Innovation: The industry and Government must continue to drive innovation (eg automation) so that the UK airline industry can remain efficient and competitive

8) Freeports: These must be structured in a way that they become a catalyst for new inward investment, jobs and skills growth, rather than diverting activity from elsewhere

9) Regulatory relaxations: Appropriate planning flexibility at ports for warehousing and connectivity infrastructure is needed to support continued investment and flexible supply chains in air freight, facilitated by the sustainable expansion of airport capacity

10) Decarbonisation: A commitment from Government to support research and development in aviation will help the industry decarbonise as quickly as possible through a combination of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and new technologies for electric and hydrogen aircraft that are fit for the future and cargo handling

11) Air freight growth: Industry should be brave and more progressive, putting its vision into practice; leveraging its creative ideas, energy and innovation. Industry needs to know now more than ever that the Government is fully behind the sustainable growth of UK air freight

Nick Smith, fund manager at AIPUT, said: ‘We are delighted to partner with Logistics UK in presenting this detailed ‘call for action’, which, if acted upon will ensure that the vital UK air freight sector can fulfil its maximum potential in helping UK plc to enhance its position as a major global trading force in the context of our emergence from both Brexit and Covid.

“Now is an opportune time for the Government to evidence its commitment to the industry and support its long-term sustainable growth.

“Air freight services contribute £7.2 billon to the UK economy and support 151,000 jobs. There is a clear and pressing need for further recognition of the strategic importance of this sector, which plays such a pivotal role in facilitating trade, investment and job creation.”

Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK, said: “Support for UK air freight, as it enters a new era outside the European Union and recovers from the global pandemic, is crucial; we must prioritise the steps needed to enhance the role of air freight in a post-Brexit world.

“Air freight is vital to our economy and we call on the Government to work with the industry to realise its full potential as a cornerstone of global Britain.”

A more detailed report on the recommendations can be seen here.

© Thames Tap (powered by

Sign up to receive your free weekly Thames Tap newsletter here.