Menzies Aviation is set to deepen its US footprint with the launch of its operations at Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) in June this year.

The company will occupy Building 3 of the International Cargo Center at RFD under a ten-year lease agreement, which has been approved by the Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA).

Through the 50,000ft² facility, Menzies will offer cargo and freighter handling services to chartered and scheduled flights.

RFD executive director Mike Dunn said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with globally recognised air cargo handler Menzies Aviation. The Menzies investment in Chicago Rockford International Airport is testament to our airport infrastructure and the efficiencies that can be achieved in air cargo outside of the large passenger hub airports.”

“Over the past eight years, we have invested over $200m in air cargo operations.

“This investment has helped build RFD as one of the largest economic engines in the Rockford region and northern Illinois and grown RFD’s ability to handle large-scale operations while remaining efficient and providing our partners with the ability to move goods quicker and saving them time and costs.

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The move is expected to create around 60 to 70 additional jobs at the airport, which include cargo service agents, cargo clerical operations agents, ramp agents, and loadmasters, along with leadership roles.

Menzies Aviation Cargo executive vice-president Robert Fordree said: “We have agreed to a long-term lease with RFD to occupy a state-of-the-art facility that includes pharmaceutical handling capabilities.

“With direct airside access, we will provide cargo and freighter handling to chartered and scheduled flights by the middle of this year and will be hiring a team to run our operations in the coming months.

“As well as fitting out the new facility, we are aiming for most of the ground service equipment to be electric to support Menzies’ goal of becoming neutral by 2033.”