Bucking the Trend

After just two years at the helm of struggling UK ground handler Groundstar, Managing Director Nigel Daniel has successfully employed outside-industry tactics to affect a remarkable turnaround, writes Richard Rowe. October 2003 Little more...

Customer-wise, Groundstar already has a good mix of low cost carriers, charters, and full-service scheduled airlines, but Daniel wants more quality business. This means a combination of building business at existing locations and adding stations elsewhere - with larger UK airports such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Midlands, and Bristol the most obvious contenders.

Groundstar already has 70 percent of the business at London Stansted - led by Ryanair and easyJet - and 65 percent of the business at Newcastle, so the opportunity for major growth at those two stations is minimal.

However, both London Gatwick and Manchester have huge potential, says Daniel.

"The important point is to have a realistic strategy and then go for it," he says. "But we need a customer to open and get some core business. I flatly refuse to open a base and then lose half a million pounds in the first year of business. Why would you do that with margins that are so tiny?"

With hindsight, other UK ground handlers might be thinking exactly the same thing.

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