jota BAe146

Priority Freight has teamed up with air charter service Jota Aviation to supply an air bridge between Europe and the UK as part of its post-Brexit preparations.

A spokesperson told The Loadstar the service would go live in January, with a focus on keeping automotive supply chains flowing amid the significant customs challenges and prolonged port delays expected at the end of the transition period.

Group MD Neal Williams said the air bridge had been motivated by the “uncertainty” surrounding import and export processes next year.

“Deal or no deal, the UK is leaving the customs union, this will cause inevitable congestion and a tougher environment at ports and we want to offer clients some peace of mind before the festive break,” said Mr Williams.

“[We’ll achieve this] by giving them an opportunity today to guarantee on-time delivery of mission critical goods in January by booking space on our air bridge with Jota Aviation.”

Under Priority’s agreement with Jota, the air bridge will fly twice-daily between Ostend and Birmingham, with the booking system opening on Monday for Priority Freight customers, with remaining pallet spaces added on a daily spot-booking basis in January.

Jota will use one of its BAe-146 freighters, having already this year put a third into service after unprecedented demand for cargo capacity.

Jota CEO Andy Green said cargo had provided the company with a “lifeline”, adding that he expected to see it play a greater role in the company’s business going forward.

At the time of publishing, The Loadstar was unaware of other charter services being lined up to bypass the potential “calamity” at the end of the transition period, despite many proposals put forward last year.

And sources continue to slam the government’s handling of Brexit, with a deal still absent and concerns over the capacity of both physical and technological infrastructure to handle new customs arrangements.

Brexit minister Michael Gove, told Parliament today that “results were coming later than wanted”, but everything was being done to secure a deal.

He added: “Intensive talks are ongoing, with both negotiating teams working day and night. I know we’ll be doing everything to secure a good free trade agreement in the interests of the whole UK, but the electors were clear we need to leave on 31 December, and we will.”

Meanwhile, two weeks ago, Jota Aviation chairman Simon Dolan lost a legal fight against the UK government over Covid-19 lockdown rules.

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