Swissport Belgium's bankruptcy threatens Brussels workers

Swissport Belgium's bankruptcy threatens Brussels workers
Credit: Belga

The bankruptcy announcement of Brussels Airport ground handling company Swissport Belgium is threatening some 1,500 jobs, of which 30% are occupied by people living in Brussels.

The announcement that Swissport has filed for bankruptcy and that 1,500 jobs at the national airport are threatened illustrates the fears of a significant reduction in economic activity in several sectors.

"After the health crisis, certain sectors, including the air transport sector, are going to suffer damage on an unprecedented scale: companies are going to make staff redundant and the number of bankruptcies is going to increase," Brussels' Minister for Employment, Bernard Clerfayt told RTBF.

The aviation sector has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis, as countries closed their borders and most flights were cancelled. Additionally, uncertain summer perspectives make it difficult for airlines to keep their head above water.

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"We are expecting a significant drop in economic activity in several sectors. We must anticipate these foreseeable situations in our recovery plans," Clerfayt added.

These plans must be part of the European recovery plan for green, digital and inclusive growth, which is essential for job creation, according to Clerfayt.

Training and support for people who have lost their jobs will be at the heart of employment policies in the capital, he assured.

"We are committed to supporting all those made redundant so that they can bounce back into a new job. In particular, we will focus on jobs in short supply and jobs of the future. In this context, training will be an essential vector of the recovery," Clerfayt added.

The announcement from Swissport Belgium follows a difficult period for the company after Brussels Airlines – its main customer – stopped flying on 21 March.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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