Behind the Californian-style beach promenade, the sandcastles and cafes and bars, sits Bournemouth Airport, riding the waves and proudly announcing its arrival in the air cargo market. For many years a gateway for holidaymakers, it is now successfully crafting a parallel identity to become an air cargo hub of choice in the South.
Heading up the cargo ambitions is the newly appointed Bob Matharoo, as head of cargo development.
Matharoo has joined Bournemouth Airport from APG Cargo, where he assumed the role of cargo director. Within his 30 years in the airfreight industry he has also worked with Global Airline Services, bmi Cargo and Lufthansa.
“Our cargo business is a critical part of our long-term growth plan at Bournemouth Airport and Bob’s appointment as head of cargo development recognises this,” said Steve Gill, managing director, Bournemouth Airport.
“Bob is responsible for the development of our cargo business building upon the excellent progress we have made recently. We’re thrilled to have him on board to take the cargo helm and steer our operation forward. His knowledge, experience and know-how are already proving invaluable – to ourselves and to our clients.
“This is truly the opportune time to join Bournemouth Airport and Matharoo is keen to further unlock the Airport’s vast and as yet, untapped, potential as a key southern cargo hub.”
“I am very excited to be appointed. Cargo plays an increasingly important role at Bournemouth Airport, and ironically the pandemic has created cargo opportunities for the Airport,” Matharoo explained.
A viable alternative to London
Strategically located on the UK’s South coast, the Airport is a hidden cargo gem. It has the benefits of an uncongested airfield and airspace, short taxi times and no ground holding delays.
“Bournemouth is a viable alternative to the busy London hubs,” said Matharoo.
It offers easy road accessibility to the 15 largest cities in Southern England, with an average drive time of one hour forty minutes and 90 minutes to London. On average, busy London cargo hubs can have a three to six-hour aircraft to landside processing time, compared to an average of an hour at Bournemouth Airport.
The Airport retains control of the end-to-end processes on site to ensure this efficiency. The “one stop shop” solution on offer includes air traffic and airfield services, all airside aircraft and cargo handling services, all ancillary handling services and operation of cargo terminal and customers facilities.
“Customer service is at the heart of our differentiated offer, made easier by managing all components of the operation,” said Matharoo.
Although the pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the air cargo industry, demand is high and valuable opportunities have arisen.
“European Aviation is based at BOH and has 15 AB340/600 aircrafts of which six have been converted into freighters. European is operating daily flights from China, which is supporting the nation with PPE and COVID test kits.
“Since last year we have also operated three to five weekly BOH-JFK-BOH flights operated by European Aviation. BOH has the ability to support freighter/ freighter operations into the South of UK, which can feed the whole of UK,” noted Matharoo.
“My role is to ensure I put BOH Airport on the map ensuring carriers, integrators, charter brokers, cargo agents and all links in our wonderful logistical chain are aware of our valued services, creating a customer focused southern air cargo hub.”