Menzies Aviation is making steady progress with its various cargo handling interests in Asia, with Neil Bolton, the company’s Perth, Australia-based commercial director for Asia, expressingoptimism about future prospects.
“Although this is a very complex and highly regulated environment, we are confi dent that we will see an increasing number of locations within the region where the Menzies service will be available to airlines,” he says.
Perhaps the most exciting immediate prospect is the start of passenger, ramp and cargo handling services in India in March next year. Menzies beat competition from WFS to win licences at the new Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, in partnership with local companies.
At Bangalore it will be one of two handlers, and in Hyderabad it has an exclusive concession until tonnage passes 100,000 tonnes, which is expected to be in six or seven years’ time.
The company is also planning a cargo terminal in Brisbane. This would complete its coverage of the major Australian airports, since Menzies is already present in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. In the latter airport, the handler is currently engaged in doubling the size of its present facility, and expansion is also planned at Sydney and Melbourne.
Menzies would like to expand in Auckland too, where Bolton admits that it is constrained by its current cargo facility. “We are looking at ways to increase its capacity, but a better option is to look for another facility or another adjacent building,” he says, adding that discussions on both ideas are going on with the airport.
The company is also looking – so far unsuccessfully – for a way to expand capacity in Wellington, and considering growing its capacity in Christchurch, though here it is exploring the possible customer base with potential airlines before making a decision. In the meantime, it is using a small local warehouse provider as a stop-gap solution.
In China, Menzies is the monopoly handler at Macau airport, and in June it introduced a daily trucking service to Guangzhou in an attempt to boost traffi c. Bolton admits the service was slow to begin with, but says it is now attracting “tremendous support”.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, where the company is a passenger and ramp handler, it started handling the 737 freighters of Yangtze River Express recently. It also unloads the freighters of FedEx, Air France – KLM and Transmile, as well as passenger carriers such as Northwest, Continental, Air Canada and Hong Kong Express. However, Bolton gives no indication if the company will be interested in the third cargo handling licence at the airport.
Last but not least, Menzies also has a handling joint venture with Chengdu Airport, which has been in place since January 2004. This includes passenger, ramp and cargo services. Bolton says this is going “from strength to strength” and now handles 90 departures a day, mainly domestic, but also including international carriers such as KLM, Thai and Asiana. A small cargo warehouse, built by the airport, opened in May this year, bring sorely needed new capacity, Bolton says.
However, despite indications from the company at the start of the Chengdu operation that it would explore other opportunities in China, no further joint ventures have materialised there as yet. Bolton’s comment is that China is “a very complex and highly regulated environment”, but says Menzies is confi dent of extending its services to other locationsin due course. – Peter Conway