Tis the season to shop online


During the busiest periods in the run-up to Christmas, over 1 million packages will be flown in and out of East Midlands Airport each night.

In the first half of December, the volume of goods handled at EMA was up over 2% on the same time last year and, during the last 12 months overall, cargo performance is up 4.4%. It is predicted that this figure will grow even further by the end of the month, making this December one of the busiest ever.

Fuelling this growth is e-commerce, with increasing numbers of people shopping for Christmas presents online.

Goods coming through the airport range from clothes to super-cars, which reflects the variation in budgets that people put aside for Christmas spending.

Earlier this year the airport hit a significant milestone when the value of goods shipped to and from non-EU countries through East Midlands Airport (EMA) in the 12 months leading up to July exceeded £10bn* for the first time ever. Of this, £5.3bn was exports.

Through EMA, and its connections to air cargo hubs in Europe and the USA, UK businesses export all over the world. Latin America, Asia, North America and the Middle East are some of the biggest regions for exports.

Looking ahead to 2019, next year will see further growth to its freight operation as the work to build a new £114m UPS facility will near completion. This will double UPS’s capacity and employ 1000 people.

East Midlands Airport is the UK’s most important for dedicated air cargo traffic. It is second only to Heathrow in terms of the total tonnage of cargo that passes through it annually. Its role in facilitating global trade makes it a key national asset. As a driver of regional growth, it has been key to the rapid expansion of the SEGRO East Midlands Gateway (EMG) Logistics Park next door.

EMA is home to some of the world’s largest express freight operators including DHL, UPS, TNT/FedEx and Royal Mail. Flights are also handled on behalf of many ad-hoc operators. 

Karen Smart, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, says: “As people’s shopping habits change and the demand for next-day deliveries increase, so too will the cargo operation here. We’re a four-hour truck drive from 90 per cent of the urban population of England and Wales which makes us perfectly positioned to facilitate the delivery of goods to a huge number of people and businesses. A key part of my focus is managing this growth sustainably. By this we mean supporting operators to use quieter, larger and more efficient aircraft so that the number of flights doesn’t necessarily have to increase. This is particularly important to minimise the impact on local communities at night time, as we are a 24/7 airport.”

To celebrate the role that EMA plays in ensuring people get the gifts they’ve ordered for Christmas on time, the airport has produced its own festive film. You can watch it here