Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has been awarded a 15-year license to operate its first cargo handing operation in India at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport).

The leading provider of airport ground services and air cargo handling, is entering a new partnership with BIAL and will assume responsibility for the development, operation, management and maintenance of one of the cargo terminals at India’s third-largest cargo gateway for international import and export cargo on May 2023.

The cargo terminal awarded to WFS at BLR Airport, has the capacity to handle 210,000 metric tonnes of cargo a year. WFS will use its design, build, finance, process reengineering and development experience to reorganise and refurbish the facility to increase its throughput capacity potential to serve cargo volumes in excess of 250,000 MT annually.

WFS will also operate and invest in the expansion of the airport’s dedicated cold chain facility. As operators of the facility, both WFS and BIAL will begin a two-phase expansion of the dedicated operation, initially doubling the capacity to 80,000 MT per annum before increasing to a throughput capacity in excess of 150,000 MT per annum, post completion of phase 2.

All these investments are timed to support the next stage of India’s economic growth. India, the sixth-largest global economy and one of the fastest growing large economies, is the single largest provider of generic drugs globally – handling over 50% of total global demand and accounting for 50% of the global vaccine manufacturing market – and boasts one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world.

Craig Smyth, CEO of WFS, describes the partnership with BIAL as a ‘landmark collaboration’ at one of the world’s most exciting air logistics hubs. “WFS has been waiting a long time to establish its own presence in India. We are honoured to have earned this opportunity to work with the very accomplished and ambitious team at BIAL to realise the outstanding potential of BLR Airport. This is already a very successful airport, supported by a thriving manufacturing and services industry, and a highly skilled regional workforce. To this, WFS will add our highest international standards for safety, security and operational excellence, our ability to invest in optimising and expanding BLR Airport’s cargo infrastructure, and our global relationships with airlines and freight forwarders.”

Barry Nassberg, WFS’ Group Chief Commercial Officer added, “Few airports in the world combine the growth generators we see in Bengaluru, making this long-term partnership with BIAL a big step in our expansion in Asia. This is a premier airport that understands its potential and recognises the way to achieve its growth ambitions is to work with an industry-leading global partner like WFS. Together, BIAL and WFS will work to sustain growth in the long-term and to achieve the airport’s goal of creating a robust ecosystem that can cater for up to one million tonnes of cargo a year.”

Speaking of the partnership, Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development Officer, BIAL said, “We welcome this opportunity to partner with a world leading global cargo handling organisation such as WFS – this will support us in strengthening our position as the preferred cargo gateway in South India. With this partnership, BLR Airport will be able to offer more modern and efficient facilities to our customers. With these improvements, we are confident about being able to grow our cargo volumes and services even more rapidly to meet demand.”

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