Proposed 115,000 sq ft warehouse at dnata City East set to create Heathrow’s largest off-airport cargo handling operation

[London: 5 December 2019]: Aberdeen Standard Investments’ AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust) has signed a pre-let agreement with its long-standing customer, dnata, promoting the continued growth of its industry-leading air cargo facility at dnata City East, located immediately south of Heathrow Airport.

The proposed 115,000 sq ft facility has been designed to operate in conjunction with a newly-completed 250,000 sq ft warehouse (also operated by dnata), handling all Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo’s air freight at Heathrow. The existing building alone represented the largest off-airport pre-let in Heathrow’s history. Subject to planning consent, the proposed new facility will make dnata City East comfortably the largest off-site cargo handling operation at the UK’s largest commercial aviation hub.

The proposed new facility at dnata City East has – like its counterpart - been specifically designed to accommodate the operational requirements of dnata (the largest independent cargo-handler serving Heathrow), and its client, Virgin/Delta. The two dnata City East buildings together will double the size of the airlines’ joint cargo operations at Heathrow.

Like its counterpart, the proposed new facility will incorporate the latest carbon reduction initiatives In both its design and operation in line with AIPUT’s Carbon Strategy to future-proof the use and value of the facility - including the use of solar PV panels, air-source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging – targeting a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating as a minimum.

Nick Smith, Fund Manager for AIPUT, owners of the site, said: “This pre-let supports AIPUT’s long-term vision to grow our high-quality air cargo portfolio at Heathrow. Our successful partnership with dnata at dnata City East sets a new benchmark for airport industrial property investment, in terms both of its unprecedented scale and the industry-leading environmental credentials of the buildings.

“Our proposed new warehouse is set to further reinforce the status of this critically important logistics destination as the most significant off-airport cargo-handling operation at Heathrow.”

dnata UK CEO, Gary Morgan, added: “We are thrilled to enhance our operations in the UK by committing to another state-of-the-art facility in London Heathrow. Our final phase of dnata City East builds on the multi-million pound investments we have made at the airport in the last five years, cementing our position as a leading cargo services provider in the country. We continue to invest in advanced infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies to deliver the best possible services for our customers.”

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


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Notes to Editors


  • Aberdeen Standard Investment’s 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 manages a prime portfolio of properties providing high-quality and customised warehouse and logistics space:
    • £700m assets under management (@ October 2019)
    • 20 assets, amounting to c2.5m sq ft/li>
    • 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.
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