dnata has inaugurated a new, state-of-the-art cargo centre at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Part of the company’s ‘dnata City East’ complex, the bespoke facility further increases dnata’s capacity at LHR, ensuring continued smooth handling of a broad range of goods amid rapidly growing demand for reliable and safe air cargo services in the UK.
Alex Doisneau, Managing Director of dnata UK (Airport Operations), said, “We are excited to announce the completion of dnata City East, a truly world-class facility. Our newest cargo complex offers bespoke solutions, industry-leading technology and enhanced cargo capacity supporting our customers in achieving sustainable growth at the UK’s busiest airport. We thank Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo for their support, loyalty and trust in our services. We continue to go the extra mile to consistently provide the highest level of service and safety across our operations every day.”
Philip Wardlaw, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, commented, “We’re delighted to inaugurate the ‘dnata City East’ complex with the completion of the new Phase II facility. As we continue to work with our joint venture partner, Delta Cargo, we have further strengthened our performance targets and commitment to our customers. We couldn’t be more thrilled to benefit from this incredible facility, which allows us to give an outstanding customer experience at one of the largest off-site cargo handling operations at London Heathrow. The opening of the import facility comes when we have extended our cargo handling contract with dnata for a further five years, signalling our continued strong and highly valued partnership.”
The ground services provider’s expansion makes dnata City East comfortably the largest off-site cargo handling operation at the UK’s largest commercial aviation hub. The new 10,500 m² facility (‘Phase II’) was designed to operate in conjunction with dnata City East’s existing 22,500 m² facility (‘Phase I’), which opened in September 2019.
dnata will handle all airfreight of Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo at dnata City East. Exports will remain at dnata’s Phase I facility, while the new Phase II facility will cater for all imports, offering the airlines significantly increased handling capacity.
Located immediately south of LHR, both dnata City East facilities were specifically designed to accommodate the operational requirements of dnata and the two airlines. They incorporate the latest carbon reduction initiatives in design and operation, including solar PV panels, air-source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging. dnata City East has already achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ environmental rating for its design stage, with the same status also expected to be achieved for the construction process.
Including dnata City East, dnata now offers cargo services from eight facilities at LHR with a team of over 750 highly-trained employees, bringing high-end cargo handling infrastructure and services for over 30 international airlines at one of the world’s leading cargo destinations. For example, in 2021, dnata handled over 500,000 tonnes of cargo in London.
Vishal Bhatnagar, Managing Director – Cargo Operations, Delta Cargo, said: “Our U.K. cargo operation, in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, is critical to our global network. The opening of this dnata facility furthers our ability to provide customers with a one-stop experience to pick up and deliver shipments for both partners – making it easier to do business with us. We are grateful for this facility expansion and value our strong, continued partnership with Virgin Atlantic Cargo and dnata, as it sets us up for great success in this market.”
In recent years dnata has significantly invested in advanced infrastructure, equipment and cutting-edge technologies, cementing its position as a leading air cargo services provider in the UK. In addition to its expansion at LHR with its fifth greenfield build, the company’s recent investment includes the opening of dnata City North, a new cargo complex at Manchester Airport (MAN). The on-airport facility has 11,500 m² of warehouse space and can process more than 150,000 tons of cargo a year.
Having added seven facilities, including six new builds, to its infrastructure over the past eight years, dnata now operates 13 cargo centres at six airports in the UK. The company can handle more than 800,000 tons of cargo annually.
In recent years dnata has also made strategic investments in new cargo facilities in Karachi and Lahore (Pakistan) and additional cargo capacity and infrastructure in Brussels (Belgium), Sydney (Australia) and Toronto (Canada). Furthermore, the company has recently announced that it would invest over €200 million in its operations in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and operate one of the world’s largest and most advanced cargo facilities, dnata Cargo City Amsterdam, at Schiphol Airport.
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