Swissport clashes with UIA over ground handling venture

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Swissport has won a high court case against Ukraine International Airlines, which it accused of unlawfully taking over their ground services joint venture.

Zurich-based Swissport held just over 70% of Swissport Ukraine when that outfit was established. But UIA took full ownership of the business in what Swissport calls a "hostile takeover" through an "unjustified capital increase" aimed at diluting the majority shareholder's stake.

The airline's move was approved by Kiev's commercial court in October 2012, and an appeal was rejected in March 2013. UIA renamed the business Interavia.

On 2 October, however, the Superior Economic Court of Ukraine revoked the previous two court rulings.

Swissport expects its original majority stake in the venture to be restored, and wants to continue co-operating with UIA. “We are open to find an amicable solution with UIA,” says Mark Skinner, senior vice-president ground handling for northern Europe and north Africa.

But UIA complains that the latest verdict reflects "critical political leverage".

The airline adds: "UIA is ready to protect its interests at the Ukraine`s court and has solid evidential basis to do so."