Airport ground service provider Swissport International has signed an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Heathrow Cargo Handling (HCH) from its joint venture (JV) partner Air France.

Completion of the deal will see Swiss aviation services own 100% of the ground handling JV based at Heathrow Airport in the UK.

HCH has a workforce of nearly 120 employees and has been offering cargo handling services at Heathrow Airport since 1995.

HCH JV handled more than 150,000 tonnes of air cargo in 2018, up 7% on the previous year.

“We are very satisfied that we can strategically round off our global cargo business with this selective acquisition.”

Commenting on the deal, Swissport Europe, Middle East and Africa executive vice president Luzius Wirth said: “We are very satisfied that we can strategically round off our global cargo business with this selective acquisition.

“On the basis of over 20 years of successful business, jointly with Air France, Swissport now has the right setup to further develop and enhance its service offering at London‘s Heathrow Airport.”

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Swissport noted that the acquisition of HCH JV will allow the company to further strengthen its air cargo operation and service capabilities at Heathrow airport, where it operates two warehouses with a total area of about 165,000ft².

The deal is subject to Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approval and is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2019.

On behalf of more than 850 client-companies, Swissport offers airport ground services for about 282 million passengers per year and handles nearly 4.8 million tonnes of air cargo at 122 warehouses across the globe.