dnata to expand presence with a new £30 million cargo handling facility at Manchester Airport

dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers, has committed to a brand new air cargo facility at the UK’s 3rd largest airport. The ‘build to suit’ premises, to be known as ‘dnata City North’ are being developed by MAG Property, the property and development arm of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), at Manchester Airport’s World Freight Terminal.

Representing investment of over £30m, the new ‘Grade A’ 145,000 sq ft high bay facility, will include 20,000 sq ft of office space over two floors. Particularly well situated for ease of airfield access, the new facility will allow dnata to consolidate and grow its Manchester operations with capacity to handle over 150,000 tonnes per annum.  The new facility will become operational in late Summer 2020 and stand to benefit from the Airport’s ongoing £1 billion transformation programme which in addition to passenger and terminal facilities includes the remodelling of taxiways and additional aircraft stands to accommodate more of the world’s largest aircraft.

dnata UK’s Chief Executive, Gary Morgan said, “We’ve been operating successfully at Manchester Airport for 8 years now, but the increasing demand for the quality of service that we provide means we’ve outgrown our existing space at the World Freight Terminal. We’re delighted to be able to relocate into new facilities at the airport and support our growing airline customer base.”

Jonathan Haigh, MAG Property’s Managing Director, said “We are delighted to be collaborating with dnata on this exciting project. The scale of dnata’s ambition and longevity of commitment rightly called for our assembly of this prime site and for a suitably impressive scheme to fully exploit its potential. From master planning to transaction execution, it’s been a great example of how we blend our airport operations knowledge with real estate development expertise and work hard and with skill for our customers. Together with our dedicated professional and principal contactor team we are thrilled to progress to the delivery phase”

Designed by architects RPS, dnata’s new building will set a new benchmark for air cargo handling and warehousing, to include flexible office accommodation that will provide an innovative mixture of workspace and meeting facilities, as well as breakout spaces and fitness suite. Using cutting edge technology, RPS have been able to conduct their client design reviews in Virtual Reality to ensure the scheme satisfies dnata’s requirements.

dnata UK Chief Executive, Gary Morgan continues, “We’ve worked closely with MAG Property and the design team to ensure that dnata City North is able to adapt to the dynamic industry in which we operate, as well as providing our staff with a quality working environment. We’re all looking forward to moving into our new facility at the end of the summer next year.”

The new building is being constructed on the brownfield site of a former aircraft hangar and will be constructed by McLaren as principal contractor.  The project will also deliver the turn-key fit-out of the office space allowing the new facility to become operational on an accelerated construction programme.

David Murphy, Managing Director, distribution and mixed-use, at McLaren, said “By working closely with MAG Property and dnata at the earliest stage of this project, it became evident that attention to detail and strong management of construction schedules and logistics is crucial to the success of this project. By leveraging our close relationships with our supply chain partners and focusing on our customer’s specific business drivers, we have been able to develop an effective and robust plan for the design and build of dnata’s new logistics warehouse and office space.”

MAG Property were advised by CMS and dnata by Gowlings and Lambert Smith Hampton.