London Heathrow Airport has released new data revealing the wide array and surprising volumes of seasonal exports that fly in the bellyhold of planes in the months leading up to Christmas. Over 143 million kilos of Christmas cargo is expected to fly through Heathrow to destinations around the world from November 24th to December 25th – a record to date.
As the biggest port in the UK by value, Heathrow plays a crucial role in delivering the essential ingredients to Christmas celebrations to British homes and homes all over the world. The airport’s data from November and December 2016 shows a clear spike in the volume of certain Christmas staples coming into the airport and out to non-EU destinations, including:
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- Christmas lighting sets – 27,467 kg (up from an average of 7,203 kg/month from January – October)
- Frozen lobster – 443,146 kg (up from an average of 163,312 kg/month from January – October)
- Calendars – 31,316 kg (up from an average of 3,382 kg/month from January – October)
- Dried flowers, including for decorations – 310,677 kg (up from an average of 109,796 kg/month from January – October)
Salmon was the most popular export to non-EU destinations overall by weight in November and December 2016, with 6,070,000 kg of fish (equivalent to approximately 480 New London Routemaster Buses) recorded as flying through. Exports of books were the second most popular commodity – with a recorded 4,834,000 kg going through last year (or approximately 382 New London Routemaster buses).
Heathrow’s data also reveals the top 5 destinations these exports are flying to outside the EU – showing the majority of long-haul exports are destined for American markets:
- United States (15.31 million kilograms)
- China (6.20 million kilograms)
- UAE (3.77 million kilograms)
- Australia (3.36 million kilograms)
- Hong Kong (2.77 million kilograms)
To highlight the wide array of exports flying out of its gates, Heathrow has today launched a “12 Exporters of Christmas” social media campaign. Each day in the lead up to Christmas, Heathrow will highlight individual stories of SMEs up and down the country that rely on the airport to export British Christmas essentials including tea, jams and biscuits across the world.
In total, Heathrow has seen a record 290,340,803 kilograms of exports flying through from January to October to non-EU destinations this year – an 8.5% increase from the same period last year. These exports are worth an astounding £39.62 billion. Heathrow’s role as a trading hub will grow as expansion takes place, with cargo capacity set to double with the addition of a third runway.
Nick Platts, Head of Cargo at Heathrow Airport said:
“Heathrow is at its busiest time at Christmas – and this year, we not only expect record numbers of passengers to fly through, but also a record amount of cargo to be flown in the holds under their feet. Santa may still have the claim on the most deliveries on Christmas Eve, but for the months before it, Heathrow is doing its bit to export our British Christmas across the world.”