For most freight forwarders when you think of UK airports you reel off London Heathrow, Manchester or Birmingham. What probably would go unnoticed is the developments at Gloucestershire airport. Formerly Staverton Airport it is situated between the cathedral city of Gloucester and the Regency spa town of Cheltenham. As a well established airport they continue to grow and develop with a new business park in the planning.
Automotive and Just in time logistics
The airport’s cargo handling agent, Weston Aviation, are promoting Gloucestershire airport as an alternative airport for specialised just in time logistics. Well positioned and surrounded by some solid automotive bases they appear to be looking to capture a slice of the market.
The first flight operated was Global Airlift Solutions PC12 Cargo aircraft. Based out of Luxembourg the aircraft is an express cargo service for hire. The positioning of the airport at Gloucester and the lack of regular scheduled services means a plane can land, unload, clear customs and be on the motorway without waiting for slot times. When the airport says it can handle Just in Time logistics services it means it.
Gloucestershire Airport and their location
This is a great new opportunity for us and demonstrates perfectly the great future and potential of Gloucestershire AirportKaren Taylor, Gloucestershire Airport commercial finance director
5 minutes from the M5 this pure business airport has no scheduled commercial traffic. Traditionally Birmingham airport has been a good hub for the automotive industry but Gloucestershire Airports lower costs and location may make an attractive alternative. Certainly companies need to balance cost against convenience in the world of Just in time logistics.
As soon as we opened our new FBO facility at Gloucestershire Airport in 2019, we saw the enormous potential for developing cargo handling for JIT operationsNick Weston, CEO of Weston Aviation
PC12 NG : The swiss army knife of the sky
Global Airlift Solutions may be a very good partner for the airport. Their business model of Aircraft charters and customised emergency logistics solutions seems a good fit. The PC12 is well designed for cargo charter operations. 7 cubic metres of space accessible through a large cargo door ( 132 x 135cms ). 1000 Kilo payload and a long range of over 1000 miles makes it an ideal just in time aircraft. Only the windows give away that these aircraft were originally designed for passengers.
With the closure of Terminal two in Manchester and the issues with cargo handling agents at London Heathrow this may be an opportune time for a new style operation.
The turn around times of scheduled carriers at major airports can be difficult. With larger aircraft comes longer handling times. Small aircraft geared towards just in time logistics may work for some. If the cost to value ratio can be hit.
It will be interesting to see if enough of the right type of cargo can attract the right sized aircraft. If it can then the region will have another gateway to develop. That can only be positive at a time when the air industry is suffering and major airports struggle.