SINGAPORE – Ground handling firm dnata has opened a new $16.2 million repair and maintenance facility at Changi Airport for its ground equipment.

The 6,900 sq m facility, located beside the dnata Cargo Centre at Changi Airfreight Centre, handles an average of more than 9,000 repairs and maintenance activities annually.

This is a huge improvement over the current facility, which commenced operations more than 36 years ago, the firm said at the new facility’s official opening on Friday (July 7).

The new facility, which became operational in June, has an additional 1,000 sq m of space compared with the existing one, and is equipped with new equipment and technology that will triple its handling capacity.

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dnata Singapore’s current fleet of more than 320 motorised and 1,200 non-motorised ground service equipment will be serviced at the new maintenance base, the firm added.

The new facility is to accommodate the current volume of maintenance and repair work with space for future expansion, with a 66 per cent increase in work pit, a 53 per cent increase in repair bay and a 50 per cent increase in washing bay spaces.

The new dnata facility at Changi Airport. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR 

Mr Mark Edwards, chief executive officer of dnata Singapore, said: “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.

“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 (ground service equipment) runs smoothly and efficiently.”

Apart from added capacity, the new facility also incorporates new technology that will increase the efficiency of staff working on repairing equipment to decrease downtime.

These include underground diesel tanks with dispensing pumps, high overhead cranes with bigger capacity to handle different 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.

The construction, which took about 19 months, was also done with being green in mind, Mr Edwards said.

For example, there are energy saving-LED lights and motion sensors for lights and ventilation.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure & Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan (third from right) touring the new dnata facility at Changi Airport. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR 

Additionally, the facility has an eco-friendly design which takes into account wind direction.

For instance, taking thermal radiation into account, the building windows are southwards facing, avoiding much of the afternoon sun to prevent the building from heating up.

Windows are also shaded to reduce internal room temperature, and conserve energy and electrical consumption.

Higher and wider vehicle bay entrances have been designed to allow more daylight into the workshop, eliminating the need for 24/7 repair bay lighting.

Mr Edwards said: “Being environmentally responsible is no longer a matter of choice, and it was a clear priority for us when establishing this base.”

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who toured the facility, said: “Changi Airport is a complex organisation with many service partners. While airlines and immigration counters provide direct contact with travellers, many more work behind the scenes to jointly deliver the Changi experience, such as food caterers, luggage handlers, cleaners and repair mechanics. There are many such unsung heroes and heroines whose services passengers often take for granted. dnata is one such partner.

“Among many initiatives, they have been working closely with us to raise productivity and operational efficiency. We are therefore delighted with dnata’s new investment in its ground handling operations. It will enhance the delivery of its services, thus contributing to the Changi experience.”

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