How Bournemouth Airport became a ‘great British success story’

Robert Courts MP, Minister for Aviation, visit to Bournemouth Airport. Left to right: Andrew Bell, General Manager of Regional and Municipal Airports; MP Robert Courts; Paul Stoddart, CEO of European Aviation; Stephen Gill, MD of Bournemouth Airport and Philip

AVIATION Minister Robert Courts visited Bournemouth Airport on Thursday to witness the vital role he has played in the fight against coronavirus – and how it is bouncing back from the global pandemic.

Since April 2020, the airport has played a vital role in importing tens of millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) and coronavirus test kits from the Far East for the NHS.

And it has helped fill the gap left in international cargo capacity caused by the sudden reduction in transatlantic air travel.

During his tour, the Minister met with business, finance and tourism students from Bournemouth and Poole College and some local people applying for airport vacancies.

He said: “Bournemouth Airport is a great British success story. Not only has it played a vital role in the pandemic by delivering PPE and test kits to the UK, quickly establishing itself as a major cargo hub, but it is now witnessing the full resumption of passenger services. »

Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister and show him how we have pivoted our operations during the pandemic to provide international cargo services, and we we expect to develop this side of our activities. This has helped us protect jobs during the decline in passenger travel. As we emerge from travel restrictions, I am happy to say that the number of seats we have on sale today compares to pre-pandemic levels. »

During his visit, the minister met with representatives of Bournemouth-based European Aviation, which has operated a fleet of converted Airbus A340 freighter aircraft from the airport since April 2020, importing supplies of PPE and kits Far East test up to seven times a week.

And he met DHL, which has been chartering regular flights from Bournemouth Airport to JFK Airport in New York since September 2020 to provide round-trip freight services up to five times a week.

The Minister heard how Bournemouth Airport has taken its cargo operations from a stalled start in 2020 to around 20,000 tonnes a year, with investment in staff and equipment to create a dedicated cargo team and facilities clearance, creating an alternative entry/access point into the UK for major London airports.

Having established itself as the UK’s newest cargo hub and with continued international demand for e-commerce, the airport is confident it has a sustainable cargo business ready for further growth.

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