In late July, dnata opened a new maintenance base at Singapore Changi Airport. The 6,900 sq m facility is located next to the dnata Cargo Centre within the Changi Airfreight Centre, and has the capacity to handle more than 9,000 repair and maintenance activities a year
The new base is said by dnata to offer many advantages over the pre-existing facility, which opened its doors well over three decades ago. It boasts an additional 1,000 sq m of space and offers the latest in equipment and technology that triples handling capacity. dnata Singapore’s fleet of more than 320 motorised and 1,200 non-motorised GSE will all be serviced at the new facility.
“In an effort to future-proof our business, it’s crucial that our infrastructure and support services keep up with the growth of dnata Singapore’s business,” insisted Mark Edwards, then dnata Singapore’s CEO. “To maintain the standards that our customers have come to expect from us, this new maintenance base is important in ensuring that our fleet of GSE runs smoothly and efficiently.
“We need to keep up with increased pressure on our equipment and find innovative and resource-light ways to repair and maintain our GSE, as their use goes up. With this new facility, I believe we can meet the increased demand seamlessly,” he enthused.
The facility is well able to handle the current level of maintenance and repair work required by dnata at Changi, and also has space for future expansion of the GSE fleet. As well as offering a 66% increase in work pit numbers, a 53% increase in the number of repair bays and a 50% increase in washing bays, the new maintenance base also has features such as underground diesel tanks with dispensing pumps, high overhead cranes with greater capacity to handle all types of equipment, a dumb waiter lift for spare parts movement to maximise storage space and increase productivity, and a centralised oil dispensing and collecting system.
As well as efficiency issues, environmental concerns were also an important consideration in the design and construction of the maintenance base.
“In our current time, being environmentally responsible is no longer a matter of choice, and it was a clear priority for us when establishing this base, to look at building in as many energy saving measures [as possible],” Edwards said. “As Changi Airport has made its green commitment, we also want to be prepared. To start with, we are introducing fast-charging bays for electric tractors, and will soon introduce more green technology and equipment.”
The facility’s other ‘green’ features include energy-saving LED lights and motion sensors for lights and ventilation. Additionally, the facility has an eco-friendly design which takes into account wind direction – workshop entry bays have been made larger with higher ceilings to accommodate larger equipment types and face the direction where there are significant winds to ensure good ventilation so that equipment is kept cool, for example.
Taking thermal radiation into account, the building’s windows are southwards facing, avoiding much of the afternoon sun to prevent the building from heating up. Windows are shaded to reduce internal room temperature, and conserve energy and electrical consumption. Higher and wider vehicle bay entrances have also been designed to allow more daylight into the workshop, eliminating the need for 24/7 repair bay lighting.
dnata Singapore keeps growing
The opening of the new maintenance facility represents just one aspect of recent expansion in dnata Singapore’s business. According to Nick Moore, its new CEO: “Over the years since the start of operations of the maintenance base at our previous facility in 1979, dnata Singapore has tripled its fleet size from 100 GSE units to over 300 GSE units today.”
That equipment is capable of handling a range of services and aircraft types. Indeed, dnata Singapore provides a full range of ground support services which requires equipment such as air conditioning units, airstart units, pushback tractors, catering trucks, cargo loaders, passenger buses, belt loaders and many more GSE variants.
The increased GSE fleet is certainly required. Newly added airline customers at Changi in recent times have included Japan Airlines (for technical ramp services) and Etihad Airways (for passenger and ramp services), while dnata now also provides a full suite of ground services, including passenger, ramp and cargo handling, for Malaysia Airlines.
And: “With the new facility, we have designed it with a mind to future expansion, to ensure that we are well-placed for future fleet size expansion,” Moore adds.