The outlook for the East Midlands is bright – that’s the message that the region’s airport wants delegates attending next week’s annual Leicester Business Festival to take away with them.
As the region’s gateway to the rest of the world, both in terms of passenger flights and facilitating international trade through its significant cargo operation, East Midlands Airport plays a key role in driving forward the local economies of Leicester and Leicestershire.
With the development of the Roxhill inland rail freight terminal underway on the northern boundary of the airport, and with proposals for HS2’s eastern leg and the Toton station gaining momentum, the East Midlands could become one of the UK’s most strategically important connected regions from which businesses in Leicester and beyond will benefit.
As part of the airport’s support for the Business Festival, delegates will have an exclusive guided tour of DHL’s hub on the airport site during night-time operations. This is one of 154 different events taking place throughout the fortnight.
East Midlands Airport is the UK’s largest pure-cargo airport, handling approximately 40% of all dedicated British air-freight flights, 10% of all UK mail, 320,000 tonnes of cargo and almost 5 million passengers each year. It is currently the UK base for DHL and UPS, two of the world’s top four air express freight operators and hosts TNT and Royal Mail operations.
The airport has ambitious plans to triple cargo, and double passenger numbers in the next 10-15 years. The airport is going from strength to strength and has just enjoyed its busiest summer season since the global financial crash in 2008 and is likely to hit record cargo levels this year too.
If business Festival delegates choose to fly into the East Midlands, they will land at the heart of the UK’s logistics network. EMA, which borders northwest Leicestershire, sits on the eastern side of a so-called logistics ‘GoldenTriangle’ (formed by the M1, M42 and M6 motorways). From here 90% of the UK mainland can be accessed within four hours’ drive. It is therefore a prime target area for logistics and distribution operations.
Logistics is worth almost £80 billion to the UK’s economy and, locally, it accounts for 23% of overall GVA. The sector employs 46,390 people and accounts for over 10% of all the jobs in the area.
Howard Ebison, East Midlands Airport’s commercial director, says: “We’re delighted to support the Leicester Business Festival and help to showcase what this fantastic region has to offer those wishing to grow or start a commercial venture. International connectivity is an important part of business sustainability, and we’re very much focused on ensuring that businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire are well-served by our operations.”
Tickets for the Leicester Business Festival can be booked at www.leicesterbusinessfestival.com