The National Transport Strategy sets out the importance of effective movement of goods for trade and sustainable economic growth. Air is one of the ways by which freight is transported in Scotland but it currently makes up only a small percentage of total freight (less than 1%). Air freight is normally only used for high value or time sensitive goods.

However, as a result of changes brought about by the UK leaving the EU, as well as the development of drones, there might be a greater role for airfreight in future. The increase in online shopping has also led to a greater demand for airfreight to Scottish islands.


To help achieve the commitment in the National Transport Strategy to promote efficient and sustainable freight transport.

How to achieve this aim

Links to route recovery and development

As well as being transported on freight planes, goods are transported in passenger aircraft. The importance of scheduled passenger services to airfreight was demonstrated during COVID-19 where the reduction in global passenger services greatly increased the demand for dedicated airfreight.

As part of the Team Scotland approach to route development and recovery, we will consider the opportunities to promote efficient and sustainable freight transport (see the International Connectivity section for more details).

Green ports

The Scottish Government is developing plans to establish green ports, where green port operators and business can benefit from a package of tax and customs incentives. Green ports could be located at a number of different places, including at Scottish airports. To benefit, businesses will need to be located in the green port zone and be fully committed to achieving net-zero emissions and to adopting Fair Work First criteria, including ensuring that employees are paid fairly.

New delivery models

The Future Flight Challenge has funded a number of projects that are exploring how drones might be used in future to meet the needs of people living in remote and island communities. These include the delivery of medical supplies, post and spare parts.

22. What more, if anything, do you think the Scottish Government can do to help promote efficient and sustainable airfreight transport?


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