Economy

Ground service provider Swissport Losch is examining the option of insolvency proceedings

picture alliance / empics | Jonathan Brady

Swissport, the world’s largest airport service provider, sends its Munich subsidiary Swissport Losch into bankruptcy. NewsABC.net learned this from industry circles. The bankruptcy procedure is to be confirmed by the supervisory board on Thursday. The company did not want to confirm or deny the bankruptcy, but admitted to “examining various options”. At the request of NewsABC.net, a spokesman for Swissport said: “Our goal is to secure operations in Munich in the short and long term.” At the same time, he admitted that the Covid 19 pandemic had hit Swissport Losch “with full force” since spring 2020. have.

The approximately 900 employees of the company are affected by the bankruptcy. What will happen to them is still unclear. However, without a buyer, everything points to layoffs, it is said by those familiar with the matter. 675 employees and thus 90 percent of the workforce at Swissport Losch are currently on short-time work, said the spokesman.

Swissport Losch is a joint venture between Swissport International AG and Losch Airport Service GmbH from Stuttgart. The company handles around 85,000 flights a year at Munich Airport. The group’s consolidated turnover in 2017 was 40 million euros. The ground service provider’s customers include airlines such as Lufthansa, Ryanair and Easyjet. The license for Munich Airport was extended in 2017 and would continue to apply until 2024. At Munich Airport alone, the number of passengers handled by Swissport Losch fell by 75 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, says the Swissport spokesman. In January and February 2021, the company was around 90 percent below the previous year’s figures.

The effects of the corona pandemic hit the entire aviation industry particularly hard. Many airlines are facing bankruptcy, Lufthansa had to be bailed out by the state with nine billion.

So far, ground service providers have not received any corona aid

For months the federal and state governments have been negotiating financial packages to rescue the airports. It was only in mid-February that the various parties agreed on financial aid for the 15 largest and most important airports. So far, however, the ground handling service providers have not been taken into account in this aid, nor is there any prospect of any help as things stand.

The employers’ association of ground handling service providers in the aviation sector (ABL) sounded the alarm in November 2020. The ABL chairman Thomas Richter told NewsABC.net at the time: “A large part of the approximately 10,000 jobs is at risk if there are no commitments for immediate measures on the part of the federal and state governments.” Due to the corona, several thousand jobs have already had to be cut, is what the industry says. Around 37,000 people are employed by private ground service providers throughout Germany.

The fact that the parent company Swissport is sending the subsidiary into bankruptcy is an indication that the soil service provider is up to its neck. With 65,000 employees, Swissport is the world’s largest airport service provider, providing services such as passenger handling, luggage transport, aircraft refueling and security services at more than 300 airports. The company has around 850 customers in the aviation industry such as Lufthansa.

With the outbreak of the corona pandemic and the standstill of international air traffic, the company lost 85 percent of its sales in several countries, which would come close to a total failure, as the “Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung” reports. It was only in August of last year that a group of international investors had to help Swissport out of financial difficulties: six private equity companies from Great Britain and the USA as well as the British bank Barclays took over debts from Swissport and received shares in the company in return. The so-called “debt-for-equity swap” contained a long-term loan of EUR 500 million ($ 595.20 million) and a bridge loan of EUR 300 million.

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