Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) plans to extend its global footprint through expansion in Asia, Africa and Latin America (LATAM).
WFS group chief operating officer, Barry Nassberg (pictured), tells Air Cargo Week that this is an exciting time of growth for the company, adding its network growth and investments are all being driven by the needs of airline customers.
“Airlines are increasingly looking to handlers to function as an integral element of the supply chain, rather than just an outsourced service provider.
“They are looking for network scale, full scope of activity, and the ability to offer specialised handling to support their pharma, perishable and high value products. Their use of the most capable handler on an airport becomes part of their own selling proposition,” Nassberg says.
The cargo handling market is growing, and the industry is consolidating. “This is an opportunity for handlers like WFS which are making a strong commitment to cargo,” says Nassberg.
He admits global expansion is a long-term undertaking with each country presenting a unique business environment. “Successful entry into new markets takes patience and perseverance,” he adds.
Nassberg explains: “We are working on network expansion to complete a true global offering. This will cover LATAM and Africa, where a number of new acquisitions and organic projects are in development. In Asia we are working on a number of new partnerships.
“In Europe, where we already have a dense network, we are expanding to fill in some of the gaps and complete a full pan-Europe system. We need to be where our customers are and our growth will mirror their own, as more and more carriers develop comprehensive multi-continent networks.”
Alongside expanding its global presence, Nassberg says WFS will continue to show its commitment to much-needed industry changes that bring opportunities for new efficiencies.: “We’ve been one of the handlers leading the charge for the introduction and implementation of electronic air waybills (e-AWB) working very closely with the airlines.”
“We are also believers in the value of industry certifications, which set a high bar and drive consistency and service excellence. So we’re working our way through our network, making the needed investments in facilities, training and systems to achieve these,” he explains.
WFS signalled its ambitions in May with the news it would be accelerating its growth under the planned new ownership of Platinum Equity. Weeks later it announced plans to acquire a 51 per cent shareholding in Fraport Cargo Services. Other WFS investments include the opening of cargo centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and of Swissport’s cargo business at Copenhagen Airport.
WFS also acquired two further cargo terminals at Heathrow Airport in the last year and, in June was awarded ground handling licenses at five Spanish airports.