Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has a long history of ground handling at U.S. airports. It was Olivier Bijaoui who many years ago had the foresight to place emphasis on air cargo handling in America, especially at New York’s JFK Airport. It was not an easy ride at that time, but a successful one which he initiated and which placed WFS as one of the leading car-go handlers.
WFS still puts its cards on JFK
Today the company now handles more than 650,000 tonnes per annum at JFK. It is not easy as WFS operates from nine different terminals there and caters for almost 70 different airlines in sometimes very congested cargo handling and aircraft ramp area. JFK’s air cargo handling facilities never have been state-of-the-art; rather run-down to say the least, and working conditions in many of the terminals are quite antiquated.
New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo and the New York Port Authority had earlier announced plans for an air cargo modernisation programme as well as for other facilities at JFK. This move was prompted by misgivings from airlines and handlers that if things did not change for the better, then carriers might well move to other locations who can effect faster and more streamlined handling.
Aero JFK II ready by end 2020
The Port Authority has awarded Aeroterm the contract to construct the new Aero JFK II Cargo Terminal. Total investment is in the region of US$ 132 million and a further US$ 62.2 million has been allocated in order to upgrade taxiways at JFK to accommodate more freighter aircraft.
The cargo terminal, where WFS has taken a 15 year lease, will be spread over 346,000 square feet (32,000 square meters) and have an annual throughput capacity of 300,000 tonnes. New state-of-the-art handling facilities will be included in the building which will be erected on a 26 acre site which will be freed up once two old and no longer used cargo facilities are torn down.
Creating jobs, fostering the local economy
Michael (Mike) Duffy, WFS’ Americas CEO stated: “We have been working on this project for some time and it is a proud day for WFS and for JFK to see the commitment Governor Cuomo, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Aeroterm are making to this wonderful airport and this magnificent new cargo facility.”
Governor Cuomo added: “With this much needed modernisation of JFK’s cargo operations, we will help create jobs and support economic growth across the entire New York metropolitan area for years to come.”
Since the ball has now started to roll at JFK, it might be worthwhile considering tearing down the other many old and dilapidated buildings and turn it into a real cargo airport with future e-commerce handling capabilities.
John Mc Donagh