In the closing days of 2020, cargo airlines and their ground handling teams raced around the clock to ensure goods arrived where they needed to across the globe. This often meant transporting goods to new destinations, each of which required its own plan to ensure that cargo was successfully unloaded, the aircraft was properly taken care of, fuel was arranged and that pilots were able to disembark with minimal fuss.

Whether opting to use their own ground handling services, or leverage a service provider, the most successful cargo airlines must do their research to ensure they are getting the best value proposition for each cargo flight in the coming year.

Comparing All Available Options

When transporting cargo to global cities like Dubai, some may assume that they can only count on one ground handling partner, dnata, to handle their cargo shipment. However, closer research will show other partners exist at Dubai International as well, and may provide an improved cost estimate or greater value.

This is why it’s critical that cargo airlines complete the necessary comparison to find the right ground handling provider. In addition to cost, other factors must also be considered including hours of operation, experience completing specific aircraft safety checks, ability to coordinate slots and more.

For some airports like London Heathrow, slots are notoriously difficult to obtain given the significant demand for travel to the city. This makes it all the more important that cargo transporters are prepared in their research. 

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Cargo and Pilot Handling Capabilities

Above all else, the best cargo handling teams are well prepared to load and unload a wide range of goods. Special care must be taken for some types of cargo such as animals, perishables, pharmaceuticals and plants. Otherwise, cargo airlines can end up in a delicate situation. With the right experience and facilities, ground handling can ensure products are moved safely without causing harm.

Cargo airlines can successfully mitigate potential disruptions by ensuring their ground handling provider has the right utilities for unloading not just cargo, but onboard pilots as well.

Taking steps to coordinate an available air stair at the final aircraft parking location will allow your pilots to deplane quickly. And when it’s time for the pilots to return for their next flight, ground handling can take the lead in contacting catering services to obtain pilots their favourite meal choice, especially if a long flight time is expected.

While the list of activities may appear daunting, these important tasks should be planned in advance to ensure that cargo is able to be unloaded and transported to its eventual customer as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line

Whether transporting cargo to London Heathrow or Dubai International, ground handling services plays a critical role in ensuring that cargo reaches its final destination. As the global economy appears poised to recover in 2021, customers will count on cargo airlines to ship them their goods, wherever they may be.

By completing the necessary research and coordinating the best possible ground handling team, cargo airline executives can sleep better at night knowing their cargo is well taken care of.


Looking to outsource your ground handling? Feel free to contact our team here at Flightworx today for advice on finding a ground handling service provider.

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