New 115,000 sq ft building confirms AIPUT’s dnata City East as Heathrow’s largest off-airport cargo handling operation

Aberdeen Standard Investments’ AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust) yesterday secured a unanimous vote by the London Borough of Hounslow’s Planning Committee, in favour of planning permission for the proposed 115,000 extension to its landmark dnata City East air cargo facility, located immediately to the south of Heathrow Airport.

The 115,000 sq ft facility will be operated by dnata in conjunction with the existing 250,000 sq ft dnata City East warehouse at the site, which began operations in September 2019. The two buildings will handle all of Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo’s air freight passing through Heathrow, doubling the capacity of the two airlines’ joint cargo operations at the airport. The operational capacity of the two buildings represents roughly 10% of Heathrow’s total air-freight capability.

The new warehouse building at dnata City East has – like its counterpart - been specifically designed to meet the operational requirements of dnata (the largest independent cargo-handler serving Heathrow), and its client, Virgin/Delta. The new building will strengthen dnata City East’s status as the largest off-site cargo handling operation at the UK’s primary commercial aviation hub.

The latest carbon reduction techniques will be incorporated into both the building’s construction and operations, in line with AIPUT’s Carbon Strategy (requiring the fund to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025), working to future-proof both the operational and commercial value of the dnata City East facility. In addition to the use of recycled and low-carbon materials wherever possible, solar PV panels, air-source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging will be installed, with the aim of achieving a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating as a minimum.

Nick Smith, Fund Manager for AIPUT, said: “This latest planning permission represents a major step forward in AIPUT’s long-term vision to continue the development of our portfolio of prime air cargo assets at Heathrow. AIPUT’s partnership with dnata in successfully delivering the dnata City East project, sets a new benchmark for airport industrial property investment, creating a new centre of excellence for UK air freight operations.”

Subject to conditions being agreed, AIPUT hopes to complete the new warehouse building ready for operations to begin in the Autumn.

ChappellKing is instructed as AIPUT’s strategic development consultants for dnata City East.


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Notes to Editors


  • Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust (AIPUT) is an award-winning expert long-term investor specialising in industrial property on and near major UK airports. AIPUT is the only specialist airport-focused industrial fund in the UK for institutional investors. AIPUT aims to deliver a strong ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance throughout its portfolio, with a strategic target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. The fund has successfully achieved GRESB Green Star status in each of the last five years.
  • The fund, which celebrates its 15 year anniversary in March 2020, manages a prime portfolio of properties providing high-quality and customised warehouse and logistics space:
    • c.£700m assets under management (@ February2020)
    • 20 assets, amounting to c2.5m sq ft
    • 2.1m sq ft of assets at Heathrow, making AIPUT one of the largest landlords around the airport, serving the evolving needs of the airport and the air-freight related industry
    • Assets at London’s three major international airports: Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
    • Target clients and investors – pension funds & expert institutional investors

About Aberdeen Standard Investments

  • Aberdeen Standard Investments is a global asset manager dedicated to creating long-term value for our clients. With over 1,000 investment professionals, we manage £486.5 billion* of assets worldwide. We have clients in c.80 countries supported by over 40 offices globally. This ensures we are close to our clients and the markets in which we invest. (*as of 31 December 2019)
  • We are high-conviction, long-term investors who believe teamwork and collaboration are the key to delivering repeatable, superior investment performance.
  • Standard Life Aberdeen plc is headquartered in Scotland. It has around 1.2 million shareholders and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • You can access the Aberdeen Standard Investments media centre here:

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