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PARIS: October 18, 2016. Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has won a three-year contract to provide cargo handling and trucking services for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the UK.

PIA operates 10 flights a week to London Heathrow, 10 to Manchester and four a week to Birmingham. WFS will handle PIA export and import cargo for customers at the three UK gateways linking Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

Meanwhile the airline has announced it is looking to lease eight widebody aircraft built after 2012 from December this year for a three-month to eight-year period depending on usage.

PIA LHR B777Commenting on the PIA appointment, Cliff McKrell, WFS Operations director for the UK & Ireland said: "PIA has recognised the value of having a single cargo handler at all three of its online airports in the UK, which we are also able to connect using our UK coastwise trucking network. Combined with our close working relationship with the airline's GSA partner, this increases the potential to generate cargo for the airline's flights from across the country."

The appointment follows the sudden resignation in July of WFS CEO Olivier Bijaoui, a year after the business was purchased by Platinum Equity, a self-described M&A and operations company.

At the time of the acquisition Bijaoui commented: "We view our future collaboration with Platinum Equity as a unique opportunity to grow our business and explore new opportunities, leveraging on our solid foundations and second-to-none experience. Their financial strength and M&A expertise will be of great support in our acquisition strategy and help the management to write a new and successful page of WFS history."

In August WFS announced it had appointed Craig Smyth, former CEO of Menzies Aviation, to replace Bijaoui.

The company said it had a turnover of US$1 billion in 2015 from providing cargo and passenger handling services to 300 airlines at 200 airports in 22 countries worldwide. In November it acquired a 51 percent stake in Fraport Cargo Services and in January this year acquired New York-based cargo handler Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS).

Platinum has investments in transportation, logistics and distribution services that also include Active Aero Group, a North American provider of supply-chain solutions for customers with sensitive or time-critical freight; and Neovia Logistics, a provider of spare parts logistics, warehouse management and fulfillment services, distribution solutions and other value-added services.

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