Not all rosy but dnata still happy with performance

Dnata cargo operations at Dubai World Central

Dnata is happy with how business in Dubai is going despite reduced military traffic causing a slowdown, senior vice president – UAE cargo, Bernd Struck tells Air Cargo Week.

“In our part of the world, not everything is rosy but it is pretty good, we are actually celebrating, we had a good year. The cargo market has seen a small shrinkage through Dubai, partly caused by a reduction in military traffic to Afghanistan,” Struck explains.

Low fuel prices also mean that fewer airlines are doing transit stops in locations such as the Middle East. Struck comments: “Low fuel prices makes it quite attractive to fly direct from China to the rest of the world.”

Dnata celebrated crossing the one billion dirham profit ($287 million) a year mark for the 2015-16 financial year while revenue grew to 10.6 billion dirhams and cargo handled fell by six per cent to 689,000 tonnes across the UAE. At Dubai World Central (DWC) (pictured), dnata has now handled over one million tonnes of cargo since 2011.

The Emirates Group’s financial year starts on 1 April, and Struck is happy with how things have gone in the first month. “Fresh into the new year we are quite pleased … Our expectations are Dubai International will continue from last year, we see developing good healthy loads.”

Struck says dnata has six warehouses at Dubai International Airport but the hub suffers space constraints, based in the middle of Dubai city.

“We gave one freight gate back to airport operator, Dubai Airports for Emirates, which gave us a challenge with the existing warehouses.”

Due to capacity restraints, airlines are gradually moving operations to DWC, Emirates SkyCargo moved freighter aircraft to DWC and passenger flights with bellyhold capacity remain at Dubai International.

When DWC opened in 2010, it was just for freighters, but started passenger flights in 2013, and as this expands bellyhold capacity will increase.

Struck says: “Space constraints at Dubai International is the biggest challenge … Emirates is growing, flydubai’s relocation will free up some space.”

At present there are about 300 flights a week, of which 220 are freighter. Increasing numbers of passenger airlines with bellyhold capacity are using DWC, including flydubai.

Struck comments: “Next year, if flydubai relocates to DWC, it will reflect a volumes of about 50-60,000 tonnes, so increasing quite a bit.”

DWC will be expanded over a number of years, and by the time this is finished; it will have five runways and a 16 million tonne cargo capacity.