Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has secured a five-year ground handling contract at Birmingham Airport for Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline.
WFS is recruiting a team of 160 staff at the UK airport in preparation for the start of the contract on 23 October 2019, when it takes responsibility for managing Flybe’s passenger services, baggage handling and ramp operations.
Flybe’s DeHavilland Q400 and Embraer aircraft operate from Birmingham serving 10 destinations in the UK, Channel Islands and Ireland as well as 11 of Europe’s most popular leisure and business routes in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
The new contract is WFS’ first ground handling agreement at Birmingham Airport and follows the successful commencement of services at Edinburgh Airport in late 2018, where it now handles more than 13,000 flights a year
In addition to building its new team, WFS is also investing in new management control systems and in new ground support equipment to ensure the efficiency of its Birmingham operation.
Under the terms of the contract with Flybe, WFS will be responsible for ensuring the best customer experience and on-time performance – as well as the highest levels of safety and security – for passengers travelling on 16,300 flights per annum.
WFS UK Ground managing director, Will Barton said: “We offered Flybe a fresh and innovative solution and they have clearly seen the value in working with us. This is a very important contract for WFS because it establishes our working relationship with a significant new airline customer and extends our ground handling network to a new airport.
“Our aim is to improve the customer experience for Flybe’s passengers, to support the growth of Birmingham Airport, and to be a reliable and valued partner to both parties. We appreciate Flybe’s trust in WFS and its confidence in our ability to uphold its proven reputation for high quality customer service and punctuality.
“As a major airline connecting Birmingham to prime locations across the UK and Europe, we intend for the quality of service we deliver to lead the way and to set an example which others will want to follow. By doing so, we will help to raise service standards and, ultimately, all benefit from the increased brand visibility and loyalty WFS can help to generate for the airport and Flybe.”
Flybe’s director of ground operations, Alexandra Grondin added: “As Flybe embarks on its journey with a new Virgin brand under Connect Airways’ ownership, one of our biggest priorities is on ensuring a consistently positive experience for our passengers at every stage during their travel with us.
“WFS has impressed us with their innovative approach and strong commitment to providing such a quality service for our customers as they travel through the various touch points at Birmingham Airport and we look forward to welcoming them to our team in October – and to a long and successful partnership.”
WFS says that its ground handling business model is a break with tradition in airline and handler relationships. The strategy is focused on serving narrow-body, high frequency airline operations, it is based on a flexible and transparent cost-plus agreement, and is designed to give airlines the operational resilience, safety and security they need to run a successful business, underpinned by a commitment to delivering the best possible customer experience for every passenger.