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Sarah Stewart, fixed base operations manager, at the Halifax airport. The Gateway complex has inked a deal to become part of the UVair FBO Network, providing a wide range of ground services. (ERIC WYNNE / Staff)
Pilots, crews and passengers aboard everything from two-passenger planes to jumbo jets have a new link to international base operations through a new service at the Gateway Facilities ULC cargo facility.
The operators of the Gateway Facilities complex at Halifax Stanfield International Airport have inked a deal to become part of the high-end UVair FBO Network that operates mostly in the United States and Europe.
Gateway Facilities is the second Canadian operation to join the network after Richmond, B.C., as the network expands in Canada.
“Most people associate us with large loads of lobster being shipped overseas over the holidays, and as the local headquarters for FedEx, but those are just some of the operations at the facility,” Sarah Stewart, Gateway’s manager of fixed-base operations, said Monday.
UVair is the brand for the network of ground services that is a joint venture of Universal Weather and Aviation Inc. and Epic Aviation LLC, both based in the United States.
“Having a partnership with UVair is great recognition for Halifax and for our Gateway Facilities operations,” Stewart said.
“It is an elite network with guaranteed levels of service and maintenance.”
Fixed-base operations can include anything from services for crew and passengers to full aircraft maintenance and even local dinner reservations when required.
“Users of the network expect to receive standardized services in a premier facility,” Stewart said.
The UVair link has been available since February and has already generated an increase in traffic at the facility, she said.
Through the UVair link, air crew, passengers and aircraft have access to 23 member-operated base operations centres in North America.
There are also links to European services.
“Each location was hand-picked to participate in the network after undergoing an extensive review,” said a UVair news release.
Gateway Facilities is a 40,000-square-foot facility with 7,000 square feet of temperature-controlled cargo space.
It is one of the largest facilities of its kind north of Miami.
March 5, 2014
The UVair FBO Network announced that it has expanded its presence in North America with the addition of five new member FBOs, bringing the total number of FBOs in the network to 23.
In recognition of the new FBO members, during the month of March, customers will receive double Bravo points when they visit any of the new UVair FBO Network members, including:
“Through our alliance with EPIC, in less than two years we've surpassed the number of UVair FBO Network locations anticipated as we strive to keep up with client demand for high-quality service and exemplary safety standards,” said Greg Cox, senior vice president, UVair. “The growth has occurred at a much quicker pace than we anticipated, and we are extremely happy with the addition of our five new members, which will allow our clients to land with confidence at 23 network locations and growing throughout North America.”
UVair FBO Network signage will be installed at these independently-owned member locations in the next few weeks.
“Interest is not only high from our clients but also from FBOs which are recognizing the value that we can deliver through this partnership and are interested in the benefits of joining the network,” said Steve McCullough, svp business development and strategy, EPIC. “As the network grows, we will continue to identify new ways to add value for our clients and reward their loyalty in addition to always offering Bravo™ Rewards and accepting the EPIC Card and UVair® Fueling Card at network locations.”
Press release issued by Universal Weather and Aviation.
By Tom PETERS
If you are a shipper of seafood or any other perishable products, Gateway Facilities ULC at Halifax Stanfield International Airport can offer you some cold comfort. Literally! The 40,000-square foot warehouse facility opened in June 2010, contains 7,000 square feet of temperature controlled space just minutes from waiting cargo aircraft. It is a feature unique to Atlantic Canada, and in fact, unique all the way down the east coast to Florida.
“What makes Gateway unique,” says Doug McRae, who along with partner Steve Christiansen developed the facility, is this is a multi-tenant warehouse with lots of cold storage located on a runway apron. “We can bring the aircraft from the runway and park it adjacent to the refrigerated space. The advantage of that is we receive the cargo from the exporters, we immediately build the loads in air containers or on pallets in the refrigerated space,” he said. When the cargo is ready, it is moved to the aircraft just two minutes away.
“It might take another five or ten minutes get it on the plane but once on the plane, like a Cargojet aircraft for example, which is refrigerated, you really do have what I call a legitimate cold chain,” said McRae. “In a lot of places, carriers and ground handlers will say they have cool space but they certainly can’t refrigerate 30 to 40 tonnes like we can,” he said. Temperature in the facility is controlled according to the perishable products inside but normal operation is between 2 degrees and 5 degrees Celsius, said McRae, and the facility can serve up to three aircraft at one time.
McRae said the only two other airports he was able to find that operate cold storage facilities next to a runway were in Miami and Los Angeles. For Atlantic Canada, which is major shipper of fresh and live seafood, the $8 million facility is a major plus. Halifax airport handled approximately 29,000 tonnes of air cargo in 2011. Airport officials say approximately 60 per cent of that was perishable goods and although McRae didn’t want to release figures, he did acknowledge that a substantial percentage the perishable products are moved through Gateway Facilities.
Halifax International Airport Authority, which worked with Gateway on the project developing the apron and taxi way, knows the critical value of Gateway Facilities. “Having 7,000 square feet of advanced temperature-controlled cargo space immediately adjacent to our newly-extended main runway (8,800 feet to 10,500 feet) gives Halifax Stanfield a terrific advantage in shipping perishable goods,” said Jerry Staples, the Authority’s Vice-President Air Service Development and Marketing. “Being the closest major North American airport to Europe, sitting on one of the world’s richest seafood resources, having no operational curfew restrictions and offering 24/7 customs service, further enhances the many advantages we offer exporters and importers.”
There has been increased cargo business through the airport in the past few years and airport officials attribute much of the increase to Gateway Facilities. However, McRae wasn’t quick to take credit. “We have seen a substantial increase in China starting to consume significant quantities of Canadian lobster and we have experienced growth as result of that,” he said. “But really what we have achieved here, in addition to that growth, is the quality of the product arriving overseas as result of being handled properly. It is to everybody’s advantage, from the harvesters, to the exporters, to the freight forwarders to the carriers and the importers, because if you are doing a better job maintaining temperature, then the results are better,” he said.
Gateway Facilities handles cargo for five carriers on a daily basis and during peak periods, like Christmas, brings in additional carriers to handle the greater lobster demand, up to 500 tonnes or about five, 747 loads, mostly to Europe.
There are discussions underway with two additional dedicated cargo carriers that are keen on the cold storage available at Gateway. The discussions are serious but it is “Really about creating the business model to bring them in,” said McRae. And bringing them in would mean into the cold.
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