Swissport International and Virgin Atlantic Airways have concluded a cooperation agreement covering the handling of Virgin Atlantic’s cargo Europewide
Zurich/London, Swissport International, the leading provider of ground services to the aviation sector, and Virgin Atlantic Airways, one of the world’s most innovative air carriers, have concluded a cooperation agreement covering the handling of Virgin Atlantic’s cargo Europewide. The accord, which extends to up to 40 destinations and will enter into effect on 1 May, further underlines the growing importance and appeal to all sides of multinational network agreements within the ground handling industry.
Swissport International and Virgin Atlantic Airways are delighted to have conferred ‘preferred partner’ status on each other on a broad basis and with long-term prospects and perspectives. The commercial agreement they have concluded to do so will further strengthen and expand the already-good business relations between the two partners. Virgin Atlantic Airways and Swissport currently collaborate at 12 stations, including key destinations such as Nairobi and Johannesburg, and very soon also Amsterdam is joining this package. In the mid-term future, the partners aim to extend their collaboration to all 40 of Virgin Atlantic’s European stations, except Sweden and Finland.
“We’re very pleased to have concluded this agreement,” says Rainer Müller, Head of Global Key Account Management Cargo at Swissport International. “It’s in tough business times like the present that strategic partnerships of this kind make particularly sound sense, allowing both partners to focus on the quality, efficiency and processes of their business operations.”
Virgin Atlantic Airways’ cargo division is equally convinced of the value of the new accord. “Alongside the commercial considerations, we regard the continuity and the opportunities for standardisation which this agreement offers as vital factors in optimising our collaboration,” says Kevin Hillyard, Vice President Cargo Operations EMEA. “On top of this, we see Swissport as a sound and solid partner who will continue to be a global player in the ground handling field.”
Cargo business off to a hesitant start
The air cargo sector has got off to a hesitant start in 2009, with many airports and airlines reporting double-digit percentage declines in their airfreight volumes. Swissport has managed to cushion the falls to some extent, and has taken its first corrective actions. Virgin Atlantic also reports a levelling-off of recent declines in its January/February results. Both partners expect to see a slight recovery in the cargo business in the second half of 2009, followed by clear improvements next year.
Swissport International Ltd., which is owned by Ferrovial, a leading European infrastructure and service corporation based in Spain, provides ground services for over 70 million passengers and 3.5 million tonnes of cargo a year on behalf of some 650 client companies. With its workforce of around 33 000 personnel, Swissport is active at 179 airports in 41 countries on five continents, and generated consolidated operating revenue of CHF 1.9 billion (EUR 1.2 billion or USD 1.7 billion) last year. www.swissport.com / www.ferrovial.com
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