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Heathrow celebrates record year for exports

Heathrow celebrates record year for exports

Heathrow has seen a 5.3 per cent increase in the volume of cargo in 2014, but new research shows that Brits have little knowledge of the scale and diversity of goods that are exported from the UK.

» Airports - UK | Monday, November 10, 2014 • Air News Times

A new study, which was commissioned to coincide with launch of the UK Trade & Investment Export Week, found that 64 per cent of Brits have no idea what the UK exports across the world. The UK is Europe’s second biggest exporter, second only to Germany, and the fifth biggest exporter worldwide.

91 per cent of the public did not know that 408 tonnes of diamonds are transported by air across the world, the highest value export at over £4.3 billion. A further 52 per cent didn’t know that Heathrow exports 17,350 tonnes of fresh fish.

The top five items exported from Heathrow by value are:


£ exported

  1. Jewellery and precious metals


  1. Machinery including engines, generators and boilers


  1. Medicines and pharmaceuticals


  1. Electrical machinery and equipment


  1. Photographic, cinematographic equipment


Nearly three in four (72 per cent) were surprised to learn that that the UK transports 71 tonnes of clocks and watches to Switzerland, the most notorious watch makers, as well as exporting to further flung countries like Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Medicines and pharmaceuticals are also a high value British export with only 46 per cent realising it is a major export.

The top ten most unknown exports were:

  1. Diamonds (91.6%)
  2. False eyelashes (89.2%)
  3. Television parts (83.8%)
  4. Binoculars (82.6%)
  5. Sugar (82.7%)
  6. Fuels (82.2%)
  7. Pets (81.2%)
  8. Umbrellas (79.9%)
  9. Oil (79.3%)
  10. Iron (79.1%)

The UK’s hub airport also found out that over 1 in 4 Brits didn’t realise that exports could be transported by air, believing that all goods were transported by boat (21 per cent). Air freight accounts for 40 per cent (or around £400 billion) of total UK imports and exports, of which Heathrow ships 66 per cent.

British interior designer, Kelly Hoppen has spent years growing her businesses internationally and regularly exports materials through Heathrow for her work all across the world.

She said “UK workmanship and manufacturing is world renowned so it is no surprise that the products that are produced here are wanted all over the globe. Exporting is crucial to the growth of both companies and the UK economy so much so that the Prime Minister is has set his sights on exports reaching £1trillion a year by the end of the decade. It is great to see Heathrow shining a light on the products and companies that are working hard to put the UK on the international trade map.”

John Holland-Kaye, CEO for Heathrow said: “As the leading airport in the UK for air freight, we want to celebrate the significant role that exports play in growing the UK’s economy.

“26 per cent of UK exports by value go through Heathrow and if we expand the airport we can keep Britain at the heart of a shifting global economy and drive export led growth.”

To celebrate these incredible exports, Heathrow has installed an eye-catching piece of art designed to show the public the huge variety and value of items that pass through the airport. From whisky and salmon right the way through to car parts and Aston Martins.

The installation in Heathrow Terminal 5 launches at the start UK Trade & Investment Exports Week on Monday 10th November will be in place until on Friday 23rd November.

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