WFS and Bangalore International Airport Limited  create ‘landmark’ partnership to drive air cargo and pharma export growth in Southern India

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

WFS, a global air cargo logistics leader, is entering a new partnership with BIAL which, in May 2023, 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. WFS will also operate and invest in the expansion of the airport’s dedicated Cold Chain Facility.

The cargo terminal awarded to WFS at BLR Airport, has the capacity to handle 210,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of cargo a year. From May 2023, it will be used exclusively by WFS to handle international cargo. WFS will use its design, build, finance, process reengineering and development experience to reorganise and refurbish the facility to increase its throughput capacity to serve cargo volumes in excess of 250,000 MT annually. 

As operators of the dedicated Cold Chain Facility at the Airport, WFS and BIAL will begin a two-phase expansion of the dedicated operation, initially doubling its 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.

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,” he said.

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 recognizes 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 & Development Officer, BIAL said, “We welcome this opportunity to partner with a world leading global cargo handling organization 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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Devender was born in the year when the Beatles Group was formed. He holds two master’s degrees in English Literature and Public Administration. He also has an Honors degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. He was closely associated with the Indian State Transport Undertakings and Ministry of Transport in his role as Corporate Communications and PR specialist for over two decades handling domestic and international organizations. He ventured into business forming his own Media House, Profiles Media Network Private Limited which is now a twenty years old company. Excelling as an editor, Marketing, PR, Anchor, and Advertising specialist, he is now expertly navigating the world of social media. A widely traveled professional internationally, Devender has a deep understanding of the Air Cargo, Cargo Business, Cargo Airports, Freighters and Cargo Industry at large.