Swissport in Belgium has filed for bankruptcy for Swissport Belgium NV, a provider of ground handling services, as well as its daughter company Swissport Belgium Cleaning NV. Swissport Cargo Services Belgium NV will pursue its activities in both Brussels and Liege.
In a press release, Swissport Belgium NV names the difficult market environment it had to face over the last few years as a precursor to the bankruptcy. “Despite several initiatives, the company has not succeeded to turn the red figures around and has had to face considerable losses over the years,” the company states.
“The unexpected outbreak of Covid-19 has reduced the volumes to practically zero and - at best - they are not expected to pick up again before the end of 2022.” Both companies employ 1,309 and 160 people respectively. According to Swissport’s Senior Communication Manager, Stefan Hartung, no other companies within the group have filed for bankruptcy.
Good cargo performance at Liege Airport
The 467 employees of Swissport Cargo Services will be spared, as the group intends to further develop these activities in Brussels and Liege. Since January 2019 Brussels Airport Company, as a landlord, has been renovating the Brucargo 704 facility of Swissport Cargo Services. Last October, the first leg of the project, the Swissport Pharma Centre, was opened. A new office block will be completed this fall. In all, the renovation program will take 2 years.
“Swissport Cargo Services is indeed a separate legal entity,” says Chief Operating Officer, Koen Gouweloose. The impact of the Corona crisis on cargo activities is somewhat mixed, Mr Gouweloose admits. “At Liege Airport, which has been designated as key medical supply hub by the WHO, the volumes have gone up thanks to an increased number of charters. At Brussels Airport, more belly cargo is handled, and these volumes have, of course, dropped considerably.”
Swissport had been an off-airside handler at Brussels Airport for a long time when, in 2012, it was able to gain airside access through its takeover of Flightcare Belgium, the latter being the former Sabena Handling. After splitting up the Flightcare activities into Passenger and Cargo Handling, the cargo services were integrated into Swissport Cargo’s air freight activities.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
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