York Aviation surveyed 255 express customers from across the economy, representing an annual turnover of over £15 billion. Most of these businesses use express parcels services every day or at least once a week – with speed of delivery being the most commonly cited reason for using express services. Customer expectations were the main driver for the need for speed, but emphasis was also placed on the high value of the goods transported, use in just in time production lines, and items being perishable.
Six in depth-interviews were conducted with a healthcare company, a high end niche car manufacturer, an electronics components company, a manufacturer of home safety and security equipment, a mechanical components manufacturer and a digital manufacturing services company specialising in injection moulding. They explored this emphasis on speed of delivery with a key theme being the high degree of value placed on late afternoon pick-ups and early morning deliveries. This enables maximum productivity for UK businesses and is only made possible by flying product overnight. This demonstrates why aviation capacity and in particular night flights are so important to express customers, many of whom are members of the CBI or other CBI Trade Associations.
The report found that:
- Express parcel services are essential to doing business in the UK: 95% of businesses surveyed stated that they were vital to or important for their business operations
- Express services are essential to UK international competitiveness: 93% of businesses surveyed said that express services were very important or important to their competitiveness. 89% said that this was because of speed of delivery and 62% valued reliability of service as integral to their own reputation
- The curtailing of express services would have real implications: 80% of respondents said that if express services were not available it would have a serious or very serious impact on their businesses. 68% said that orders could be lost and 42% said that UK operations could be reduced
- Growing demand of express services is expected in the future: 49% of companies expect to use express services more. This demonstrates the need for an increase in cargo capacity, particularly during the night period.
The Government will be launching a consultation in the coming weeks on the next night flights regime that will apply to the designated airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) from 2024. Despite night flights being essential for express delivery services, capacity in the South East is severely constrained and it is critical for the UK’s trading ambitions that existing connectivity is protected.
If you would like more information about the report, please do get in contact with Amanda Zambon, Policy Director at AICES.