Handling Heathrow’s cargo challenge

posted on 16th June 2022
Handling Heathrow’s cargo challenge

Although Heathrow airport’s notorious Shoreham Road ‘horseshoe’ cargo area
remains a congestion hotspot, in April Dnata inaugurated the next phase of its ‘Dnata City East’ complex at LHR, with the new 10,500sqm ‘Phase II’ facility designed to operate in conjunction with Dnata City East’s existing 22,500 sqm facility, which opened in September 2019.
The bespoke facility further increases Dnata’s capacity at LHR and makes Dnata City East easily the largest off-site cargo handling operation at the UK’s biggest airport. Located immediately south of LHR’s main airside cargo handling areas, both Dnata City East facilities were specifically designed to accommodate the operational requirements of Virgin Atlantic Cargo and its joint-venture partner Delta Cargo. Exports will remain at Dnata’s Phase I facility while the new Phase II facility will cater for all imports, offering the two airlines significantly increased handling capacity.

Five-year contract extension
The new import facility comes at a time when Virgin and Dnata have extended their already longstanding LHR cargo handling contract and partnership for a further five years.
The facilities incorporate the latest carbon-reduction initiatives in design and operation, including the use of solar PV panels, air-source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging. Dnata City East has already achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ environmental rating for its design stage, with the same status also expected to be achieved for the construction process.
Including Dnata City East, Dnata can now offer cargo services from up to eight facilities at LHR with a team of over 750 employees, providing cargo handling infrastructure and services for over 30 international airlines and handling in excess of 500,000 tonnes of cargo. Having added seven facilities, including six newbuilds, to its UK infrastructure over the past eight years, Dnata now operates 13 cargo centres at six airports in the UK and is able to handle more than 800,000 tonnes of cargo annually across the country.