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Menzies Aviation aims to triple mainland footprint after Hong Kong expansion

Menzies Aviation aims to triple mainland footprint after Hong Kong expansion
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One of the world’s largest aviation services companies is looking to triple its footprint in mainland China while also expanding in Asia, after acquiring a 50 per cent stake in Hong Kong’s second-biggest ground handling operator.

Menzies Aviation CEO Philipp Joeinig said the UK-based company aimed to claim a bigger slice of the Asian market and would soon begin airport operations in another city on the mainland, as well as an extra country in the region.

“So we want to grow. We want to triple our presence in China, but we want to do it through our customers,” he told the Post.

“We are ready to invest and we are ready to deploy resources as required to grow in the country.

“What we see today, based on the demand of our customers and our partners, we think that there is value that we can add at least in the next couple of years in a couple of airports that would lead to a tripling of our presence.”

The firm acquired a 50 per cent stake in Jardine Aviation Services Group from Jardine Matheson, an Asia-focused conglomerate, in January in a joint venture with China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC).

The joint venture, now called Menzies CNAC Aviation Services, offers a host of ground handling services at Hong Kong International Airport, including passenger services, ramp operations, baggage and cargo handling, flight control, load planning and crew care.

It is the second-largest ground handling operator in the city with a 45 per cent market share, behind Cathay Pacific Group, which controls half of the market.

CNAC itself is part of a broader company that has a controlling stake in Air China, while CNAC and Menzies also operate a separate venture at Macau’s airport.

The Menzies Group recently posted 10.7 per cent revenue growth to US$2.2 billion for last year, marking three years of consecutive double-digit expansion as air travel continued to edge closer to pre-pandemic levels.

With the company having operations in over 265 locations across more than 60 markets, including Indonesia and Malaysia, Joeinig said the group was also eyeing expansion in other parts of Asia, with another jurisdiction to be announced soon.

“We’re committed as a business that continues to grow and share our service expertise across the region, recognising that Southeast Asia has very strong partnerships throughout Asia-Pacific, especially with China and Australia,” he said.

Joeinig also predicted Menzies CNAC would achieve robust business growth of more than 20 per cent this year followed by an estimated 20 per cent expansion next year, as he was upbeat about the city’s aviation demand.

He said the Hong Kong operation, at about 1,000 employees, was still short of around 300 workers.

Menzies Aviation operates in over 265 locations across more than 60 markets. Photo: Eugene Lee

But 200 of the roles would be filled by bringing in workers from the mainland, and the company would need to hire 500 to 600 staff for the coming launch of the city’s third runway to cope with the added capacity.

Joeinig said the firm would put a large emphasis on staff training with attractive packages to allow employees to climb up the career ladder with different relocation opportunities.

“For us, the people are the most important. We are confident and we have a lot to offer,” he said.

“First of all, it’s attractive for young people to work in an aviation environment. It’s very agile, it’s flexible, you can work in different jobs.

“You can work towards the career path or you can work in an environment that allows you to expand yourself through other activities.”

Joeinig also sought to assure airlines that there were no plans to increase ground handling charges.

“We are not here to increase prices, by no means is this our aim … we live with the current price structure, so we will not change anything of this,” he said.

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