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SAS, Swissport work on cargo handling deal

Scandinavian Airlines is on its way to transferring full ownership of ground handling in Denmark, Sweden and Norway to Swissport International Ltd.

The airlines announced Thursday that they have signed a letter of intent, creating the basis for continued negotiations between the two companies.

As a first step, both parties intend to establish a joint venture company to which the business and operations of SAS’s ground handling and Spirit Air Cargo Handling will be transferred. Swissport will hold 51 percent ownership, and SAS will hold 49 percent.

"I am very proud of SAS having chosen Swissport as their partner for outsourcing the ground service business,” Per H. Utnegaard, group president and CEO of Swissport International, said. “This is a perfect strategic fit for both companies, and for Swissport this step into the Scandinavian market is an important part of our defined growth strategy and our worldwide expansion."

The complete outsourcing of SAS’s ground and cargo handling services would include the workforce of 5,000 full-time employees in Scandinavia.

"The letter of intent is an important achievement within our strategy 4X Next Generation,” Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS, said. “Not only is it a significant step towards delivering the outsourcing solution that we set out for reducing complexity and securing a flexible cost base. We are also very pleased to partner up with the world's leading ground handler, Swissport, who is well known for high quality services worldwide.”