John Menzies - Wikipedia


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John Menzies
Traded as LSEMNZS
Industry Aviation
Founded 1833
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Key people

Dermot F. Smurfit (Chairman)
Giles Wilson (CFO)
Forsyth Black (President & Managing Director, Menzies Aviation)
Greg Michael (Managing Director, Menzies Distribution)

Number of employees

36,000[citation needed]
Divisions Menzies Aviation
Menzies Distribution
Website John Menzies plc[1]

John Menzies plc (/ˈmɛnzs/ MEN-zeez, traditionally /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss) is a Scottish business established in 1833. It has two main divisions: Menzies Aviation and Menzies Distribution and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The company formerly ran High Street and railway station shops, particularly in Scotland, through a retail division which dealt in newspapers, magazines, books, stationery and other products. This was sold to rival WH Smith in March 1998.[1] They now provide support services in fast moving time critical markets.[2]


The company was founded by John Menzies (1808–1879) of Edinburgh, a Victorian entrepreneur, who built up his small newsagent business (established when he was 25 years old) into a national chain. Menzies died at his townhouse, 3 Grosvenor Crescent in Edinburgh's West End,[3] and was buried in Warriston Cemetery, on the north side of the city.[4]

The retail business expanded throughout Scotland, with High Street and station bookstalls opening in every part of the mainland. In 1941, its Greenock branch was destroyed outright in the Greenock Blitz.[5] It would be over thirty years before it re opened a branch in the town. In 1973, John Menzies opened its flagship branch on Princes Street.

Like its Glasgow outlet on Buchanan Street, it operated over two floors and incorporated a music section.[6] In August 1988, the business purchased sixty six of the Martin Retail Group's largest stores in England, doubling John Menzies' floor space overnight.

These stores, which had previously traded as Martin the Newsagent, Lavells Newsagents, Lewis Meeson, RS McColl, Sperrings, and House of Andrew, were quickly rebranded as Menzies' stores.

In January 1998, it closed its principal branch in Edinburgh, although the head office continued to occupy the building.[7] The whole retail operation was sold to WHSmith High Street, and some to WHSmith Europe Travel Retail, in May 1998, to enable Menzies to concentrate on its distribution business.[1] In January 2007, John Menzies merged its newspaper and magazine wholesale distribution businesses in Northern Ireland into a joint venture with Eason & Son, to be called EM News Distribution.[8]


Menzies Aviation is an independent, time critical logistics specialist serving the global airline industry, which operates in two hundred airports and thirty six countries around the world. Its service offer is split between Ground Handling, Cargo Handling, Cargo Forwarding (which is conducted by its independently run subsidiary, Air Menzies International) and Fuelling.

Ground Handling

This stream of the business supports millions of passengers every year from the check in desk to the runway, on behalf of their airlines. It provides landside and airside services tailored to airlines needs; timed to their schedules; and delivered by teams with the knowledge, tools and passion to set standards rather than chase them. Its core ground handling services include; Passenger Services, Ramp Handling, De icing.

Cargo Handling

The business offers full ramp transfer, load management and import/export handling services, supported by warehousing and trucking facilities which can help convey valuable consignments to the next step in their supply chains.

Cargo Forwarding (AMI)

Air freight is an expensive means of transport and requires a certain critical mass of cargo in order to be viable. Acting as a neutral agent, AMI buys belly space in flights across the world and consolidates cargo into them for its customers, whose loads would otherwise be too small to warrant the minimum space purchase required by airlines.


On 31 January 2017, Menzies Aviation completed the acquisition of specialist aircraft fueller Aircraft Services International, Inc (ASIG) from BBA Aviation plc for US$202m.[9]


Menzies Distribution is a major logistics supplier in the United Kingdom. It provides final mile delivery for 110 million delivery units each year, serving customers in the press, travel and third party logistics sectors. The division operates one of the largest overnight logistics networks in the United Kingdom.

According to the company’s 2014 Annual Report, Menzies Distribution drives its vehicle fleet 130,000 miles every day in the course of making its deliveries, a process staged from 8 ‘hub’ and 31 ‘spoke’ facilities across the country.

Menzies Distribution’s service offer is split into five distinct areas:

Trucking – moving bulk supplies of products long distance across the United Kingdom, using large trucks.

Final mile – cross docking, picking, packing and delivering products to their end destinations with a fleet of smaller vans; also providing reverse logistics for the same product categories.

Hand-to-hand – micro delivery services and product sampling, handing items directly to the businesses and consumers for whom they are intended.

Response – fulfilment services tailored for e commerce and mail order; storing, picking and dispatching stock items on demand.

FORE – an independently run, specialist consultancy which advises retail businesses on category management.

Menzies Parcels – John Menzies now provides parcel services in the Scottish Highlands, Islands and Argyll for the fast growing e commerce market.[10]


The name Menzies is traditionally pronounced /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss, as the "z" is historically the letter ȝ (yogh). Even in Scotland (where the name "Menzies" originated), the name of the retail stores was increasingly pronounced as "John MEN-zeez".

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