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Max Gosney, Conference Chairman, Ground Handling International

Imagine the scene. A hastily converted A330 packed with desperately needed ventilators for coronavirus patients touches down and taxis into the parking bay. The pilot powers down, puts on the parking brake and waits. And waits and waits and waits. But, no friendly face in a hi-vis is coming to greet them today: the expert handling team have been furloughed or laid off weeks ago. Without dedicated government aid, as received by airlines, their employers were in an invidious and impossible position.

So, the ventilators remain incarcerated in the cargo hold along with the face masks and other critical medical aid. Lives will be lost as a result of the delay to offloading and customs clearance. Doctors and nurses forced to tell another family of a loved one lost. It doesn’t have to happen like this.

There’s still time to save the vital, yet relatively anonymous, ground handling sector that is so important to safe and efficient air transport. To do it, the industry will need the same kind of dedicated financial relief from governments that is being made available to other aviation stakeholders.

The Trump Administration’s $58 billion dedicated aviation relief fund under the CARE Act last week is a shining example. The deal makes provision for airline contractors (ground handlers) and cargo operators alongside passenger airlines.

Whether President Trump has pledged enough to these groups is secondary – this is watershed moment for ground handlers and others who’ve earned their rightful berth in the first team. The US aviation relief package must now become the template for governments across the world.

Survival is also down to those in the ground handling community being more proactive in lobbying our politicians. We will be masters of our own downfall by sitting on our hands and complaining that ground handlers always get forgotten about: a common lament.

The time has come to stand up and be counted: to shout loud and proud about our crucial importance to safe and efficient air transport. Aircraft can’t get to where they are needed without us.  Safety can’t be underestimated: handlers are responsible for load planning, dangerous goods and ensuring the plan is followed with the positioning of every ULD/pallet before a flight can depart.

In the UK, supermarket workers are rightly being reevaluated as ‘key workers’ and earning the kudos that title brings. Once anonymous check out agents are now revered as invaluable assets in our national efforts to combat coronavirus pandemic and keep society functioning. Ground handling teams must seize their place in the same prestige bracket. It’s time to step up our PR like the supermarkets and to champion the vital role every pushback driver, load controller and despatcher plays in ensuring we vanquish this awful virus.

A joint letter from Swissport, dnata, Menzies, WFS was sent to the UK government this week and warned that airports could grind to a halt for four months if these companies and others didn’t receive comprehensive fiscal aid. You hope it resonates at Westminster and seats of power across the world. Lives will be lost if we are ignored and our highly skilled community is allowed to simply decay or disappear completely.

We must stand proud, together and resolute in telling the world about the seismic importance of frontline aviation teams in performing a turnaround on the pandemic.

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Gerry’s dnata Expands Offering; Launches Line Maintenance Services in Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan, 13 January 2022 – Gerry’s dnata, Pakistan’s leading ground services provider, has expanded its offering. The company obtained Maintenance Organization Approval from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority to provide aircraft line maintenance services to airline customers, and now offers a one-stop-shop of ground handling, cargo and technical services at the airports of Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE) and Islamabad (ISB). 

Gerry’s dnata’s team of professionals can provide full line maintenance support and are trained on customers’ company procedures, providing a seamless service to both passenger and cargo airlines.

The launch customer is flydubai, which Gerry’s dnata already serves at four airports in Pakistan providing a range of ramp and passenger handling services to the airline and its customers.

Syed Haris Raza, Vice President of Gerry’s dnata, said: “As Pakistan’s leading ground handler, we constantly enhance our offering to best meet the needs of our customers. We are confident that our airline partners will welcome the expansion of our portfolio and take advantage of getting quality and safe ground handling and technical services from a single provider. Our team of highly trained, seasoned professionals will deliver world-class quality and safety for our valued customers.”

Mick Hills, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance at flydubai, said: “We are looking forward to expanding our relationship with Gerry’s dnata to include line maintenance services in Pakistan. Having a single, local provider to oversee our line maintenance, as well as ground handling, will add more efficiencies to our fleet management and ensure a quicker turnaround of our aircraft.”

Gerry’s dnata have the capability to handle the following aircraft types for scheduled, unscheduled and AOG services:

  • Airbus A319/A320/A321 NEO (CFM LEAP-1A)
  • Airbus A318/319/320/321 (CFM56)
  • Airbus A319/320/321 (IAE V2500)
  • Airbus A330 (RR RB 211 Trent 700)
  • Airbus A330 (GE CF6)
  • Boeing B737-600/700/800/900 (CFM56)

Over the past year, Gerry’s dnata has continued to enhance its operations and services to deliver the highest level of quality and safety and help airline customers safely transport passengers and precious cargo to and from Pakistan. It made significant investments in infrastructure, technology and equipment, including the opening of a new, state-of- the-art cargo facility in Lahore which doubled the company’s cargo handling capacity at the airport.

Gerry’s dnata’s quality of service helped it win or retain over 20 contracts with key accounts across its network. The company also achieved prestigious industry certifications, including GDP and IATA’s ISAGO accreditation, which validate its capabilities and place the business in a market leading position.

Gerry’s dnata serves more than 20 airline customers at seven Pakistani airports. The company’s team consists of over 2,500 dedicated aviation professionals who assist more than seven million passengers and handle 150,000 tons of cargo annually.

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Gabor Vasarhelyi
Public Relations, dnata