Saturday, August 30, 2014

Air Freight Handling Shuffle for Specialist Provider

Two Significant Changes at Major Western European Airports
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – ITALY – It has been a busy week for air freight handling specialist group Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), with the company signing an agreement to acquire competitors Swissport’s, cargo business at Copenhagen Airport, as well as winning the handling concession for a new 5,000m2 cargo terminal at Milan Malpensa Airport.

Under the terms of the agreement of Swissport’s divestment, the transfer all business activities to WFS will take place on October 1, with WFS assuming responsibility of Swissport’s 4,200 m2 cargo terminal at Copenhagen Airport which handles 18,000 tonnes a year on behalf of leading international airlines. Marc Claesen, Regional Vice President, North Europe at WFS, said:

"We are delighted to have successfully concluded this agreement. Copenhagen has been a big growth airport for WFS since we opened our operation in 2006 and this latest investment not only gives us potential for further expansion, it brings more leading international airlines into our portfolio in Scandinavia, that are also customers of WFS elsewhere in our global network."

WFS provides services to 300 airlines globally, is present at 120 major airports in 20 countries on four continents, and handles approximately four million tonnes of cargo a year. It commenced operations in Scandinavia in 2006 having been awarded a concession on land by Copenhagen Airport a year earlier and investing in the construction of a new cargo terminal. WFS also opened its own cargo business at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport in 2012. Jos Roeven, Managing Director, Swissport Cargo Services - The Netherlands and Area Director Nordics, added:

"WFS is a major player in cargo handling and is therefore perfectly equipped to take over the cargo business at Copenhagen Airport."

The new agreement with Swissport will take WFS’ total cargo volume at Copenhagen Airport to 100,000 tonnes a year. Its existing facilities at the airport include two cargo terminals with a total area of nearly 10,000 m2 of warehouse space and office accommodation. WFS’ airline clients at the airport include Singapore Airlines, China Cargo Airlines, Korean Air, British Airways, TAP Portugal, Iberia, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air Greenland, Cargolux and Icelandair.

The sale of the Copenhagen cargo business to WFS includes all business activities currently carried out by Swissport Cargo Services Denmark ApS as well as all assets. The exit process will start immediately and will be concluded October 1.

As part of Milan Malpensa Airport’s major investment programme to increase its cargo capacity to one million tonnes a year by 2020, WFS will operate the new cargo terminal for a minimum of 10 years with the option of a further five years at Milan Malpensa, which handles some 50% of all air cargo exports from Italy. WFS will move into the new building in early 2016 on completion of the construction phase and will invest in excess of €1.8 million to equip the facility with modern handling systems and the necessary logistics infrastructure.

WFS has operated an airline representative office at the airport since 2008 and has cargo handling contracts in Milan for major airline customers including American Airlines, US Airways and China Cargo Airlines. The new cargo terminal will be built by SEA, the operator of Milan’s Malpensa and Linate airports and will be developed in conjunction with the technical department of WFS in Paris.

The building will incorporate seven landside doors for trucks, a ramp for smaller vehicles, secure cages for valuable cargo and dangerous goods, and cool rooms for temperature-controlled shipments. The design will also include a 1,000 m2 covered area on the air-side ramp, an additional 2,000 m2 ramp area and office accommodation. Emilio Fernandez, WFS’ CEO Europe, said:

“We are proud to have been chosen to operate what will be a magnificent new cargo facility, and intend to play an important role in helping Milan Malpensa achieve its impressive growth targets for the next six years and beyond.”

WFS expects to employ up to a further 50 new cargo personnel at Milan Malpensa when the cargo terminal opens. Massimiliano Introini, Managing Director Italy at WFS, added:

“WFS is the only international handler at MXP and will provide the global expertise, knowledge and services that will be essential in attracting more airlines from across the globe. We also offer the considerable benefits to airlines of our extensive road feeder system connecting the WFS airport network throughout Europe.”

Photo: Milan Malpensa Airport cargo hub.