Menzies Aviation Expands in South America Through Agunsa Partnership

Kevin Rozario


May 4, 2022

mod Menzies cargo with man

The deal should enable growth for both companies especially now that air traffic is returning, and cargo remains resilient.

Menzies Aviation, part of John Menzies plc, has acquired a controlling stake in Agunsa Aviation Services, which provides full ground and air cargo handling services in Santiago, Chile.

Agunsa Aviation Services was a wholly owned subsidiary of Agencias Universales SA, the diversified Chilean business with a long history in logistics, originally in shipping, and in more recent years in aviation. AirportIR profiled the airport segment of the company two years ago at the start of the pandemic, and more recently we looked at how it was planning on developing its market share.

Agunsa provides full ground handling and air cargo handling services to several major international airlines at Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL), including United Airlines, Delta, and Qatar Airways. It also operates an on-airport cargo warehouse covering 110,000 square foot, with the ability at SCL to handle a combination of import cargo, export cargo, and courier products.

A Deal With Regional Promise

Menzies Aviation is divided into three regional segments: Americas, EMEA and Rest of World, with the Americas accounting for 43% of the company’s $1.35 billion revenue in 2021, up 27%. EMEA had a 42% share, and RoW 15%.

The deal with Agunsa will tip the balance further towards the Americas and opens up the South America market for the company. The new Chilean business will complement Menzies’ existing operations in four countries in Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico; and Colombia in South America.

Santiago Airport, where Agunsa provides ground handling and air cargo handling services, has had a striking makeover.

Philipp Joeinig, CEO of Menzies Aviation, said: “I am excited to enter our sixth country in Latin America and strengthen relationships with some of our largest global airline partners. Agencias Universales SA has a long and successful history as a leader in logistics in the region and we are looking forward to expanding our business and footprint with our new partner.”

Fernando Rodriguez, CEO, Agencias Universales SA, added: “We are very pleased to work with Menzies Aviation and their team to build a market-leading business across Chile and beyond. This deal will help accelerate the growth ambitions of both businesses.”

In agreement was Director of Investments & Airport Operations, Fernando Carrandi, who told AirportIR: “In terms of our airports logistics strategy, we see this boost to our ground handling and cargo business as a very healthy diversification from airport operations and the PPP market that has suffered greatly from the pandemic and which is still in recovery mode.”

2021: A Recovery Year

Across John Menzies business groups of air cargo services, fuel services, and ground services, all three grew in double digits in 2021 – by 15%, 29% and 24% respectively. However, compared to 2019, only air cargo services was ahead of pre-pandemic business.

From a profitability viewpoint, the Americas was the star performer helped by business wins, returning flights, and government support schemes. The region delivered $52 million of the company’s $76 million underlying operating profit last year.

Commenting on 2021, and the company as a whole, Joeinig said: “We believe that the business has the potential to generate sustainable revenues in excess of $2 billion that would further cement Menzies’ position as a leader in the aviation services market. Menzies is on an upward trajectory and I am very confident about our future.”