In response to the launch of the government’s consultation on extending the current provision for night flights until 2024 and beyond, Zoe McLernon, Multimodal Policy Manager at Logistics UK, comments:
“Air cargo services must be allowed to continue operating under the current night flying regime until 2024. This is essential to ensure businesses and the public continue to receive the medicine, manufacturing goods, and other products needed to support the nation; nearly half of air freight by value is flown during the night period to enable time-sensitive, next-day deliveries to arrive in a timely fashion. And, as the industry prepares to transport the COVID-19 vaccine safely and securely, at pace, night services will be vital to support timely, large-scale distribution.
“However, Logistics UK and its members are concerned that government has also launched a second part to the consultation, due to end in March 2021, which will consider the post-2024 future national framework for night flight operations. The government is seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the future of night flights beyond 2024 and aims to publish stage 2 of this consultation in 2022, which will set out firm proposals for the designated airports beyond 2024.
“Recovery for long-haul passenger services is currently uncertain and given that approximately 60% of air cargo goods are carried in the belly hold of passenger airlines, we ask that the government wait until a stable recovery in the passenger sector has taken place before assessing market conditions and then making an evidence-based recommendation.
“Given the financial and time pressures the aviation sector is under, Logistics UK urges government to extend the deadline for the second part of the consultation to ensure there is time for appropriate available resources, including new quantitative economic research, to support informed decision making.”