Swissport (UK) to cut thousands of jobs

24 Jun 2020 by Alex McWhirter
UK border control - image supplied by Heathrow

Recently we reported on the bankruptcy of ground handler Swissport (Belgium).

Today comes news from the BBC that Swissport (UK) will be cutting as many as 4,556 jobs – roughly half its UK workforce.

The news ought not to come as a shock to Business Traveller readers.

Swissport, which despite its ‘Swiss’ name, is owned by China’s Hainan Airlines Group, had already faced difficulties when Flybe (for whom it was a main ground handler) ceased trading.

In recent months the situation deteriorated much further as all airlines cancelled one flight after another.

As can seen from the BBC map – see link above – Swissport is represented at airports throughout the UK.

Chief executive Jason Holt was quoted by the BBC as telling staff “We must do this to secure the lifeline of funding from lenders and investors to protect as many jobs as possible in the UK and Ireland.”

Mr Holt has been vocal in recent weeks about the impossible challenge the company faces in current conditions. Giving evidence to the Transport Committee last month he said,

“It is a fight for survival. It is hand to mouth. We are running out of cash and at the moment there is not any coherence from the Treasury or Number 10 with regards to the aviation sector.” (Video below – from 9 minutes in….)

Meanwhile, the news at Brussels has improved.

When Swissport (Belgium) failed it left the airport with a single ground handler: Aviapartner.

Swissport (Belgium) declares bankruptcy

But it too would have failed soon after had not the Belgian government come up with a rescue plan.

Meanwhile Brussels has got a second ground handler. Alyzia SAS has been granted a six month temporary licence.

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