Swissport to take over SAS ground-handling arm

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Swissport International has tentatively agreed to take over the ground-handling operations of SAS Group, as part of the Scandinavian company's restructuring programme.

Ground-handling is one of the assets being divested under the SAS '4XNG' programme, and the two sides have signed a letter of intent.

SAS Group says the letter is paving the way for continued negotiations between the two related to the complete outsourcing of SAS's ground- and cargo-handling services, including the workforce of around 5,000 full-time employees in Scandinavia.

Both companies intend to establish a joint venture of which Swissport will hold 51% and SAS 49%, and to which SAS's ground-handling operation and its Spirit cargo-handling arm will be transferred.

Swissport will take management and operational responsibility of the company, which will provide the handling for Scandinavian Airlines and other customers. No details of the transaction value have been disclosed.