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RFD Welcomes Menzies Aviation to its International Cargo Center

RFD Welcomes Menzies Aviation to its International Cargo Center

World’s largest aviation services provider to further grow cargo capabilities at airport

ROCKFORD, Ill. (Feb. 7, 2023) – The Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) announced Menzies Aviation, the world’s largest aviation services provider with operations in 58 countries, will expand its U.S. cargo operations to RFD. The company will occupy the International Cargo Center at RFD and provide cargo and freighter handling services to chartered and scheduled flights.

The Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) approved a lease agreement at its Jan. 26 board meeting. The 10-year lease term will commence June 1.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with globally recognized 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,” said Mike Dunn, executive director of RFD. “Over the past eight years, we have invested over $200 million 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. With Emery Air, the first cargo handler to operate at RFD, and Menzies Aviation working on the field, we expect enhanced growth of our international cargo business. We look forward to developing our partnership with Menzies Aviation and welcoming them to the RFD community.”

Menzies Aviation will occupy Building 3 of the International Cargo Center. The 50,000-square-foot facility will provide the global aviation services company with the space needed to conduct business and grow its operations and support its long-term sustainability goals.

“We’ve agreed to a long-term lease with RFD to occupy a state-of-the-art facility that includes pharmaceutical handling capabilities,” said Robert Fordree, executive vice president cargo of Menzies Aviation. “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’re aiming for most of the ground service equipment to be electric to support Menzies’ goal of becoming neutral by 2033.”

Menzies Aviation will create approximately 60-70 additional jobs on airport grounds and recruitment will begin the second quarter of the year. Jobs include cargo service agents, cargo clerical operations agents, ramp agents, load masters, in addition to leadership positions.

Over the past several years, the reliability of smaller, secondary airports, like RFD, has been highlighted because of ease of access, sustainable and lower-cost fuel operations, longevity of aircraft, lower overall costs, and a stable workforce. Menzies cited RFD’s size, location and “can do” attitude as selling points for its 72nd cargo location.

“Emphasis on the importance of secondary airports like RFD were highlighted during the pandemic as nearby passenger hubs reached capacity and carriers looked elsewhere. Despite the current, cyclical downturn in cargo volume, we see secondary airports becoming more attractive due to less congestion, lower costs and great surrounding infrastructure, which will expedite goods getting from airport to final destination. In combination, these benefits will result in significant carbon savings to the shippers. We are confident that, in partnership with RFD, we will attract scheduled freighters and specialized cargo to be handled safely, efficiently and with the required certified standards applied,” Fordree said.

RFD is home to the second-largest UPS hub in North America, a major base of operations for Amazon Air, and serves numerous international airlines and freight forwarders including DB Schenker, DSV, HAE, Senator International, ABX Air, ATI, National Airlines, and Atlas Air. With the airport’s ongoing cargo expansion, Rockford has become a Midwest hub for e-commerce and international freight.

About Menzies Aviation

Menzies Aviation has been evolving since 1833 to become the worlds’ largest aviation services company with operations on six continents. Headquartered in London, Menzies provides time critical ground services, fuel services and air cargo services at more than 250 airports in 58 countries, supported by a team of over 35,000 highly trained people. Best in class safety and security are the number one priority every day.

For more information about Menzies Aviation, visit

About Chicago Rockford International Airport

The Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) is home to a continually growing air cargo industry and is ranked as the 14th largest airport in the United States for air cargo with more than 3.4 billion pounds of landed weight in 2021. The Airport is home to the second-largest UPS hub in North America and a major base of operations for Amazon Air. In 2019, RFD was named the fastest-growing cargo airport in the world. The Airport campus also encompasses an aviation maintenance repair facility (AAR) as well as other aircraft maintenance operations capable of servicing next-generation aircraft, as well as an aviation education maintenance program (Rock Valley College) that is turning out a highly trained and skilled workforce. Currently, RFD and its tenants are home to more than 8,000 jobs and contribute millions of dollars annually in real estate taxes. More than 15 international airlines service RFD as a freighter network serving destinations to and from countries from around the world, as well as from international tier one freight forwarders such as DB Schenker, DSV and SENATOR. Visit

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