The group has snapped up a majority stake in Jamaican-based AJAS, a privately owned ground and cargo handling company. AJAS has operated in Jamaica for more than 80 years and employs almost 600 staff, providing ramp, passenger and cargo handling services to several international airlines at the two leading airports in Jamaica: Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston (KIN) and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ).
Following the deal, the business will be rebranded as Menzies AJAS, bringing it in line with the other companies under the wider Menzies group. The current AJAS management team will remain in place to oversee the company’s strategic objectives of establishing Menzies AJAS as the “handler of choice” for all airlines operating in Jamaica.
John Menzies started out in 1833 when its eponymous founder opened a bookshop on Princes Street, Edinburgh. The newspaper and magazine distribution business was spun out in 2018, creating Menzies Distribution, and leaving the rest of the firm to focus on providing aviation services. Menzies Aviation provides services at more than 250 airports in 58 countries.
John Redmond, executive vice president Americas, Menzies Aviation, said: “We have provided ground services in the Caribbean for over 20 years, and we are excited to be expanding our footprint to Jamaica at a time when its aviation industry is experiencing a post Covid-19 pandemic recovery. The Menzies AJAS combination brings together local knowledge, relationships and expertise, which will strengthen our position in this market. We look forward to working with the AJAS team to grow the business under the Menzies brand.”
Howard Mitchell, chairman, AJAS, added: “Partnering with Menzies will add tremendous value to our business, which has gone from strength to strength over the past 82 years. AJAS has always been recognised as a good employer in Jamaica, and we are proud of our strong relationships with our hard working and long-standing employees. We have a shared vision with Menzies and are aligned on the value of our employees and how we look after them, which in turn maximizes the service they provide as well as the return to our stakeholders.”
The deal is expected to close in a matter of weeks once all regulatory approvals are in place. The rebranding to Menzies AJAS and integration into the group’s global network, which spans six continents, will commence this month.
In December, Menzies Aviation said it had expanded its partnership with a fast-growing budget South African airline from one airport to seven. The five-year contract with FlySafair will see Menzies provide passenger and ramp services for 40,000-plus aircraft “turns” per year at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International, King Shaka International, King Phalo Airport, Dawid Stuurman International and George Airport. It builds on an existing relationship at Bram Fischer International Airport.
Menzies noted that FlySafair was the biggest domestic carrier by passenger numbers in South Africa, with the airline expected to receive extra aircraft in the first half of 2023.