Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has won the contract to provide cargo handling for British Airways World Cargo (BAWC) at London’s Gatwick Airport.
The new contract, effective Dec. 1, will see about half of the airline’s cargo team at Gatwick transfer to WFS, the world’s largest air cargo handler. The company handles more than 4 million tons of cargo per year for about 300 airline and airport customers at 120 stations globally. The remaining members of the BAWC staff at Gatwick will be offered positions by the airline at London Heathrow.
To support the agreement, WFS acquired a second warehouse facility at Gatwick that will be dedicated to the British Airways World Cargo operation. Ahead of the December start date, WFS will refurbish and upgrade a 30,000-square-foot building, including office modernization, a new container handling system, a 20-foot container lift and fast lanes linking the air and landside areas.
“Our plan is to grow our presence at Gatwick – a key part of our strategic development plan – and this is a long-term commitment,” said Patrick Roberts, vice president of the United Kingdom and Ireland at WFS. “This latest success for us in the U.K. and Ireland consolidates our leading position in the market at London’s major gateway airports and in the regions.”
WFS opened its first cargo center at Gatwick in September 2011 and now handles cargo for Vietnam Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Monarch Airlines and Leisure Cargo, which represents over 20 airlines in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including Thomson. The 25,000-square-foot WFS facility at Gatwick has a capacity to handle up to 50,000 tons annually.
In the past three years, WFS has increased its overall presence at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, increasing its total warehouse capacity at the two airports to in excess of 300,000 square feet.
In 2008, WFS purchased a 60-percent share in British Airways Regional Cargo from its three founders. British Airways World Cargo holds the remaining 40 percent of shares. As part of this agreement, WFS took over cargo handling for the airline in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow as well as at other regional airports in the United Kingdom and Ireland.