Exclusive Part 2 - Ground Handling - a Sister Service to Cargo Handling

The dnata UK set-up does not just rest on air cargo handling.
The takeover of Aviance in 2010 also placed the Dubai-based handling giant into the ramp handling scene in the United Kingdom.

Aviance was involved in passenger services and ramp handling, among others at Terminal 3 at LHR.
Terminal 2 was pulled down a couple of years back and re-opened in mid-2014 housing exclusively Star Alliance carriers. dnata had not planned to offer services in Terminal 2, but are now handling ANA, American/U.S. Airways and Virgin Little Red on the ramp. This portfolio of customers will be increased mid-March by the addition of Singapore Airlines for ramp handling and premium check-in services.

Present at 4 LHR Terminals
Passenger and ramp services being performed by dnata were heavily committed to in Heathrow’s Terminal 1, 3 and 4. With the addition of Terminal 2, the company will be present in four of Heathrow’s five terminals.

“Passenger and ramp handling go hand-in-hand with cargo handling,” says Gary. “Many of our clients on the ramp are also handled by our staff in dnata City,” he further states.

New ground handling operations also opened up at Manchester airport which was traditionally the home ground of Servisair, now taken over by Swissport. The new clients handled there are Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

On top of this, dnata received an extension of their ramp license to include ground handling services at London Gatwick. Operations are planned to start on the 1st of May this year.

Moving forward in the future
One could imagine that with the business in hand that the dnata managers might just sit back and concentrate on continuing to give good service to their present clients.

Dnata world at Heathrow Airport
Dnata world at Heathrow Airport

This is not so according to Gary.
“Pricing, he says, plays an important role in whatever decisions we make on future investments and expanding, or even decreasing our customer base.”
It’s his firm belief that handling prices have to be increased.
The investment that handlers have in new manpower and handling technology has to be also taken into consideration by the airlines.
Carriers insist on top service – “and that has its price,” he says.
“We have regretfully lost or have turned down some clients in the past years due to expected pricing levels which we just cannot meet.”
He is convinced and pushes this point internally within his organization that carriers who realize the type of service they will get, will be willing to pay that extra buck.
He states “that airlines will of course ask for a better price, but don’t blame the carriers for that. Blame those handlers who drop pricing without calculating!”
He impresses upon his business development team that they should not “chase the price.”

Further investment in the UK and elsewhere in Europe?
Definitely, Gary tells us, but it has to make sense.
When considering that London Heathrow handles 60 percent of all air cargo turned over in the UK, then it makes sense to stay on the ball with regards to further investment or acquisitions there.

Jet Aviation’s cargo handling services in Zurich were also taken over by dnata some time ago.
So - this leaves much room for future European expansion for dnata.
But, as Mr Morgan had stated - it has to make sense commercially and financially.

We are sure that dnata will not just leave it at what they presently have.

John Mc Donagh

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