dnata’s new Heathrow facility to be just for Cathay Pacific


dnata says its new Heathrow Airport cargo facility will be dedicated to Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific.

The company says the move to Building 521a builds on its long-term partnership with Heathrow’s largest independent handler.

dnata UK says the new state-of-the-art on-airport cargo facility at Heathrow will open its doors in April.

This ends speculation as to who would tenant this prime piece of real estate at the UK’s biggest airport, dnata is poised to unveil a high-spec customised handling facility designed to meet Cathay’s specific requirements as it rapidly expands its UK cargo business.

dnata has invested £40 million ($57 million) in Building 521a, a 63,600 square foot warehouse and office facility located next to the dnata City complex.

A six-month refurbishment has seen dnata implement its vehicle control centre at the facility, an industry-leading innovation already operational at dnata City. Further enhancements providing customers with full e-airway bill processing including receiving advance data information are to be included.

Building 521a also provides easy landside customer access and direct airside access, which combined with the new control centre, will ensure processing times are kept to a minimum.

Cathay’s move to Building 521a also paves the way for dnata to up-spec the airline’s current South Point facility at dnata City to cater to the evolving needs of the cargo handler’s current and potential airline customers.

dnata UK’s operations chief executive, Gary Morgan, says the investment was part of a contract signed between the handler and the airline earlier this year. He adds: “We are providing Cathay Pacific, a valued dnata customer for many years, with a prime airside location at Heathrow as a sign of our long-term commitment to the carrier and its UK and Ireland growth strategy.

“As the airline continues to develop its cargo and passenger business at a number of major and regional airports, dnata and Building 521a will provide the necessary handling and logistics support to facilitate this expansion.”


On 1 January this year, Cathay Pacific awarded dnata its cargo handling contract for Manchester Airport and UK regional airports, including inter-airport trucking throughout the UK and Ireland.

This led dnata to invest in an additional 29,674 square foot facility located near the handler’s current 55,159 square foot Manchester operation.

Heathrow’s Building 521a will cater to cargo handling for Cathay from Gatwick Airport, with volumes set to grow when the airline launches a new four-times weekly service to the UK capital’s second-largest airport from 2 September.

Cathay Pacific cargo manager for UK and Ireland, Andrew Roe says: “Building 521a has been custom-designed with our specific cargo handling requirements in mind and with dnata managing the process with its leading-edge technology and professional workforce; we are well placed to grow our UK business in the future.”

Building 521a’s official opening ceremony will take place on 19 April.