Air Cargo Management

WFS sets sights on Bengaluru facility expansion

WFS celebrated the opening of its first cargo handling operation in India in May 2023
photo_camera WFS celebrated the opening of its first cargo handling operation in India in May 2023

Since opening its first cargo terminal at India’s Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR) at the end of May, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has signed handling contracts with 20 global airlines.

WFS, the world’s largest air cargo handler, is now exploring how it will develop its facilities at the airport.

WFS has embarked on a 15-year licensing agreement to manage an international cargo handling operation at BLR, in collaboration with Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

WFS Bengaluru Private Ltd (WFSBPL) in India has welcomed new airline partners who have signed contracts ranging from three to five years. These agreements allow them to tap into WFS’s exceptional standards of safety, security, and service.

In Bengaluru, the third largest and fastest-growing cargo hub in India, WFS employs approximately 700 staff across two facilities, currently offering an annual throughput capacity of 120,000 tonnes. This is set to rise to 250,000 tonnes per annum following refurbishment.

WFS, a member of the SATS Group, is responsible for the development, operation, management, and maintenance of the operations, which include the only dedicated cold chain facility at the airport.

WFS says it aims to use its design, build, finance, process reengineering and development capabilities to optimise and grow cargo capacity in Bengaluru.

The company has a two-phase plan to significantly increase the size of the cold chain facility.

It will initially aim to double its capacity to 80,000 MT and, later, boosting throughput to over 150,000 MT per annum in acknowledgement of India’s role in the global pharmaceutical and healthcare markets.

WFS has already introduced cutting-edge forklift equipment, cargo tugs, and next-generation electric vehicles in Bengaluru as part of its commitment to global environmental, social, and governance (ESG) sustainability.

The company says it will also implement additional automation and digitalisation systems across its Indian operations to boost productivity and enhance operational transparency.

Manish Agnihothri, chief executive of WFSBPL, said: “After a great deal of planning and preparation, it was an honour for WFS to commence its first-ever operations in India in Bengaluru at the end of May, and we are proud to have already won so many important airline customers.

“It is a tribute to our local teams, partners and stakeholders, as well as colleagues from other WFS & SATS stations around the world, who assisted in our launch, that we have achieved such a smooth operational transition.”

John Batten, WFS’ chief executive officer EMEAA, said: “Our goal from the outset has been to bring our international cargo handling expertise into the Indian market and to add value for India’s air cargo community stakeholders.

“We aim to play an important role in helping Bengaluru realise its air cargo growth ambitions.”

Raveen Pinto, vice president aviation business at BIAL, said: “BIAL is pleased to announce that WFS has joined our airport community as one of the two cargo terminal operators. This partnership is exciting as WFS will leverage its international experience and best practices to enhance our airport cargo operations and make them more efficient and smoother.

“We are eager to grow and thrive together in the future as the preferred gateway of the region.”

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