The world's fourth biggest combined air services provider, is hiring people to manage expansion, a top official said yesterday.
The 52-year-old company that started its journey as Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) has a footprint in 73 airports in 37 countries served by more than 20,000 employees, unveiled a new identity yesterday. It was later brought under the Emirates Group management. "Dnata is a global company now and that necessitates a stronger message and consolidation of our operations, hence the rebranding exercise," Gary Chapman, President of Dnata, told Gulf News. "This is about giving our employees a stronger message on who we are and to raise the standard of the services. It is an exciting phase."
His company is spending Dh25-Dh30 million in rebranding over a three year period that will see all employees in a new uniform from next year.
Dnata, which is present on five continents, sends 128,000 meals a day into the skies. Its employees handle 709 planes a day in airports around the world. It handles 4,766 tonnes of cargo a day and helps 192,442 passengers reach their destinations per day.
Chapman yesterday unveiled the new look of the company at a ceremony in Dubai. Hundreds of employees from across the group celebrated Dnata's revitalised look and feel, which include a striking new logo, at a launch event. A new company vision, mission and set of values have been created to encompass Dnata's diverse portfolio of businesses and unify over 20,000 employees around the world, a statement said. "Today is the beginning of a new era for Dnata, our customers and our staff," said Chapman. "The brand refresh represents the start of our journey as a global, unified company. It has been an insightful and creative process which will further enhance our customer offering through our values of ‘service excellence' and ‘delighting customers."
Despite the recent global economic downturn, Dnata continues to expand. The recent acquisition of Alpha Flight Limited, which provides flight catering and retail services for over 100 airlines worldwide, catapulted the company's international flight catering business to its current position, now present at 62 airports in 12 countries. This significant milestone was complemented by the 2008 acquisitions of a 23 per cent share in worldwide corporate travel company, Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) and 49 per cent of the global outsource provider, Mind Pearl. "We have been growing quickly but consistently and remained profitable," Chapman said.
Over the past six years, the organisation, which incorporates a range of services including ground handling, cargo, travel, IT solutions and flight catering, has quadrupled in size. It now has a global footprint in 73 airports, in 38 countries across five continents. Dnata is also cautiously looking at acquisitions and concession proposals as part of its growth. "We are extremely cautious on expansion and acquisitions. The key for us is to remain profitable and we have maintained that all along," Chapman said.
He said his company is weighing some of the proposals to serve new markets. "China, India and largely Asia and Africa are strong growth markets for us. We are looking at these markets for expansion," he said. Growth for Dnata will come through organic growth as well as through acquisitions. The gap between the world's largest and Dnata is shrinking.
Chapman said he wants his organisation to be the most admired one globally, if not the largest. "We do not want to be the biggest. For me the most important issue is to remain the most admired company and continue to be profitable," he said. Dnata, which has a cash balance of more than Dh1 billion, has been funding its expansion with its own resources.
"We have a healthy balance sheet with just about $120-$150 million debts left," Chapman said.
"The company is healthy. We have quadrupled our revenues in the last few years when we have also expanded geographically."
Chapman, who joined Dnata in 1989 and helped spearhead its growth, said the global aviation industry enjoyed healthy growth between 2008-2010, when oil prices remained low.
"However, since January this year, the scene is quite different as high oil prices will impact the industry. Airlines will be forced to raise fares and that could mean fewer people might fly," he said.