Despite the bankruptcy of Brussels Airport’s ground handler Swissport a week before flights were set to resume after the lockdown, 90% of flights will not experience any difficulties, according to the airport.
On Monday morning, the bankruptcy of ground handling company Swissport Belgium was announced, costing about 1,500 employees their jobs. As the company was responsible for 60% of handling, the bankruptcy left the airport and Brussels Airlines with a tight deadline to find a solution for the resumption of flights on 15 June.
“90% of flights at Brussels Airport are covered. We are ready to restart from Monday,” Nathalie Pierard, spokesperson for Brussels Airport, told The Brussels Times. “The two other main airlines, TUI and Ryanair, already work with Aviapartners, so there will not be any issues for their part,” she added.
As there will not be too many flights yet, Brussels Airport’s other ground handling company Aviapartner can make sure everything runs smoothly for the time being. “But this is a provisional solution,” said Pierard.
In the short term, Brussels Airport is trying to work out a temporary solution between the other airlines and Aviapartner. It will likely also handle most of the operations of Brussels Airlines in the near future. The company itself has a handling licence, and would therefore handle this with the help of Aviapartner, according to the airport.
“We are optimistic that a solution can be found for the other flights before Monday,” said Pierard, adding that respecting the coronavirus safety measures is important, but so is ensuring that all operations will run smoothly from Monday.
In the long run, the airport is obliged to have two ground handlers, legally speaking. “We will have to put out a tender withing six months to find a new partner,” said Pierard.
The Brussels Times