Boost in cargo trade could create 12,000 new jobs at East Midlands Airport

Pictured is a plane at EMA
The airport is set to grow its air cargo operation -Credit:East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport (EMA) is set to increase its role in powering UK trade, with tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic value to be unlocked at the site. The airport will grow its air cargo operation after a new study showed it has a "unique" combination of strengths that make it perfectly placed to support increased demand for air freight in the years ahead.

These strengths include its central location and close proximity to major road and rail networks, and the fact that 80 per cent of all large-scale warehouse sites in the UK are within 125 miles of EMA. It also specialises in the handling of express air freight - carried in dedicated aircraft, not in the "belly" of passenger planes.

It is this fastest-growing type of air cargo that is tipped to account for an increasing share of all goods shipped around the world in the years to come. EMA also has the capacity to accommodate an increase in cargo flights as the economy grows, while other airports in the market are facing constraints.

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These factors combine to place the airport in a position to build on its status as one of the UK's most important express air freight hubs. The study - carried out by specialist air travel consultants York Aviation - says that air cargo growth at EMA will support between £687m and £1.8bn in additional GVA and between 2,700 and 12,600 extra jobs by 2030.

The report also notes that Heathrow’s market share has fallen by 3 per cent between 2012 and 2022, while EMA’s has grown by 7 per cent, indicating that EMA can position itself as a viable alternative to London’s congested and flight slot-constrained airports. EMA’s managing director, Steve Griffiths, said: “This report confirms EMA’s status as the UK’s most important express air freight hub, powering seamless trade for the whole of the country.

"It highlights how some of our unique attributes, including our central location and ability to offer a 24-hour service, allow us to punch well above our weight. What’s really encouraging is that it spells out the potential for EMA to meet the growing demand for air cargo as London airports, whose cargo operations rely on passenger flights subject to greater restrictions, become congested and reach capacity.

"This growth in our share of the air cargo market will add significantly to the substantial contribution we already make to the regional and wider economy.” Megan Powell Vreeswijk, chief executive of Marketing Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, added: "At this pivotal moment, the increase in cargo operations at EMA couldn't be more timely, bolstering the growth in our inward investment enquiries that are exploring Nottingham/Shire and the wider East Midlands region as the key and vital location for UK operations. The findings from York Aviation underscore the indispensable role of the East Midlands in the nation’s economy."

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