German airport operator Fraport and Swissport Cargo Services Deutschland have started the construction of Swissport’s new airfreight facility at Frankfurt Airport.

The new facility is said to be Swissport’s fourth-largest cargo centre.

Designed by M&P Architekten, the facility will have the capacity to handle 200,000 metric tonnes of airfreight annually.

The building is expected to increase Swissport’s cargo handling capacity by around 50%.

It will feature a material handling system that can automatically store and remove containers and pallets from the warehouse.

In addition, it will be equipped with special temperature storage for pharmaceutical cargo. It will be fitted out in line with IATA criteria and is expected to receive the CEIV Pharma certification upon starting operations.

The warehouse roof will be fitted with a photovoltaic system that can generate 1.55 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.

Goldbeck will serve as the general contractor for the project, which is anticipated to be completed in the third quarter of next year.

Fraport Real Estate and Properties senior vice-president Felix Kreutel said: “Fraport operates Europe’s largest cargo hub at Frankfurt Airport.

“We intend to write another chapter in this success story together with our long-standing customer Swissport. To achieve this, we are continuously optimising our service and product range and offering intelligent infrastructure solutions for our customers.”

Approximately 50% of Germany’s airfreight volume is managed at Frankfurt Airport. Fraport’s aim is to use independently generated renewable energy to meet the airport’s electricity requirements.

Last month, Fraport partnered with start-up Hybrid-Airplane Technologies (HAT) to trial a hybrid aerial vehicle at Frankfurt Airport.

In July, Fraport agreed to deploy FlightAware’s real-time predictive technology at Frankfurt Airport to further optimise flight operations.