SAirGroup, ABB to form airport facility venture

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German engineering firm ABB Airport Technologies and SAirGroup facility management subsidiary Avireal are to create a Swiss-based 50:50 joint venture.

Known as Airrange, the company will provide consulting, planning, construction and management services for airport-specific facilities.

Mannheim-based ABB Airport Technologies is a systems integrator and turnkey airport project management firm, supplying systems for areas such as airfield lighting, information distribution and baggage- or cargo-handling. The company is engaged in projects such as the modernization of Harare International Airport.

Part of SAirServices, Avireal - located at Zurich Airport - conducts real-estate planning, as well as construction and management for hospitality projects. Its US division is responsible for the Swissotel hotels in cities such as Boston, New York and Chicago.

A spokesman for SAirGroup says there is "good synergy" between the two companies.

Avireal president and CEO Mark Honauer says airport privatisation and cost pressures will increase the demand for specialist service providers such as Airrange, and adds: "We have every reason to be very optimistic about our prospects."