Monday, August 29, 2022

Gordon Deegan

The luggage handling firm that apologised for its role in the number of bags that went missing at Dublin Airport in July reduced its workforce by 44 per cent during the early stages of the pandemic, new accounts show.

In July, Swissport issued an apology to Dublin Airport users with a company spokesman stating that the firm was “very sorry for our part in the disruption people are experiencing. We are working hard to address our resource challenges, with over 3,500 new hirings since the start of the year”.

Now, new accounts for Swissport Ireland Ltd show that it cut its Irish workforce by 348 from 794 to 446 during 2020 as international passenger travel was brought to a halt due to the pandemic.

Salary costs

Salary costs at the firm reduced from €28m to €11.3m and the accounts show that the firm received €2.62m in Government Covid-19 wage supports while the company paid out €719,000 in ‘redundancy and severance costs’.

The directors state that “aviation flight numbers are now returning to normal, and the challenge is now to recruit and train enough staff to meet the forecast demand”.

Underlining the impact of Covid-19 on the business, the firm’s revenues reduced by 44 per cent from €47.65m to €26.4m during 2020 as ground handling revenues declined by 59 per cent from €37.7m to €15.3m offset by cargo revenues increasing by 12pc from €9.95m to €11.1m.

The accounts – signed off this month – show that the company recorded an operating loss of €1.2m in 2020.

The firm recorded pre-tax profit of €291,000 after the Government’s €2.6m in Covid-19 wage support was taken into account, offset by impairment of investments of €455,000 and redundancy and restructuring costs of €719,000.

The directors state that the operating loss “was a direct result of the impact of Covid-19 and the resulting decline in gross profits”.

Operating expenses

They state that these losses were mitigated by realising savings of €4.299m or 30 per cent reduction in operating expenses.

They said: “Under these circumstances, this is a very positive result, reflecting the strength, commitment, and professionalism of our management and all our employees.

The directors add that “the company believes it is well positioned as the partner of choice for airlines as they prepare to turn the page from Covid-19 and ramp up operations in the future”.

On the impact of Covid-19, the directors said that ground handling revenues were negatively impacted “although cargo revenues were robust”.

They added that this disruption “was followed by a gradual recovery during 2021 as travel restrictions were lifted”.

The operating loss last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €1.3m and lease costs of €1.55m.

Accumulated profits at the end of 2020 totalled €10.67m.

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