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East Midlands Airport grows freight operations despite Covid-19

While airports in the country have seen air traffic movements reduced by over 90%, East Midlands (EMA) has continued operating around 60% of all scheduled flights elevating it to one of Europe's top 10 busiest airports. This is because of its global express freight operation which is playing an important role in keeping trade moving and facilitating the supply of vital PPE equipment in the fight against Covid-19, as well as more people ordering goods online when shops have shut.

East Midlands Airport, home to the UK's largest dedicated air cargo operation, is now served by a weekly Hong Kong to EMA cargo flight. The route has been introduced by DHL Express in response to increasing business demand for shipments from Asia.

The new service is currently the UK's only dedicated cargo flight to the UK from China carrying goods exclusively for the UK. Operated by the Boeing 747 -8 Queen of the Skies, one of the most fuel efficient freighters currently available, with a cargo capacity of 130 tonnes, the flight departs Hong Kong on Fridays arriving at East Midlands Airport on Sundays.

Karen Smart, Managing Director, East Midlands Airport, said:

'We very much welcome DHL's continued investment in the EMA operation. It is fitting that currently the only direct cargo flight to the UK from China comes into EMA which is home to the UK's largest dedicated air cargo operation. This new route is further evidence of the airport's vital role as a global hub for time-critical goods and a facilitator of world trade.

'EMA is well placed to support the gradual steps being taken by countries to re-start manufacturing and exports as they ease their way to normality following COVID-19 as well as being key to unlocking the UK's economic potential in the coming years.'

Ian Wilson of DHL Express said:

'As lockdowns in many countries around the world begin to ease, we're seeing a sustained growth in demand for goods from Asia, covering all the usual high value or time critical products like technology, medical and industrial goods'.

In the last two years, more than £200 million has been invested into bespoke handling facilities at EMA by the world's largest logistics companies, establishing it as the UK's busiest and most important airport for dedicated cargo planes.

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