The tiny UK airport responsible for transporting your essential goods

Apr 6, 2020

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In a time of global crisis and a slump in commercial air travel, East Midlands Airport (EMA) in the heart of the U.K. finds itself playing a critical role in the movement of cargo in and out of the country. So much so that it’s still operating over half of its scheduled flights — more than any other major airport in Europe.

The global aviation industry has been severely affected by the pandemic, with airlines grounding entire fleets and airports closing altogether. While passenger flight operations at EMA have also been temporarily suspended, there has been a significant increase in cargo flights. In fact, between 16 March and 29 March, cargo aircraft movements increased by an average of 7.4% per day.

The increase in cargo operations at EMA — and elsewhere — is due primarily to an increase in demand for medical supplies, personal protection equipment and online shopping orders. The airport is also able to take on extra cargo capacity from other airports around the U.K. that are now closed overnight or not operating their usual long-haul passenger flights, which typically carry cargo as well.

Related reading: Virgin Atlantic operates its first-ever cargo-only flight

The position of the airport in Leicestershire, which is nearly the centre of England, means that around 90% of the population in England and Wales can be reached within four hours from the airport by delivery wagons.

The airport reports that according to statistics recently published by Eurocontrol, EMA showed the smallest drop in traffic in Europe during the week before 1 April followed by Bergen (BGO), Stavanger (SVG) and Cologne (CGN).

Airports are being affected around the U.K. including London City, which has been completely closed, as well as Gatwick, which has closed its North Terminal.

Featured image by David Goddard/Getty Images

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