Forwarders now accept that Newcastle is a viable UK gateway to world markets, reports Mike King
When Emirates SkyCargo set up a direct daily link from Newcastle to Dubai, managers recognised they would face an uphill battle to convince shippers and forwarders to rethink their London Heathrow-focused air cargo strategies.
It's now just over two years since its launch in September 2007, and the seventimes-weekly A330 service offering 13-14 tonnes daily uplift has proven a major success, despite the economic downturn.
Volumes in October set a new monthly record, double those of 2008 and November and December were also a long way ahead of 2008 levels, according to Ross Barnett, cargo manager for northern England and Scotland.
He says competitive cargo pricing and the realisation among shippers of the time savings available by avoiding trucking cargo to and from Heathrow have been critical.
"We've worked closely with forwarders and shippers to get them to fly north-east cargo on a north-east service using our global connections via our hub at Dubai, " he says.
"The biggest competition is Heathrow and some forwarders have tonnage commitments to airlines there. Some also use European hubs.