Swissport realizes strong volume growth in 2023 / 5,000 new jobs to cover the 2024 summer peak
In 2023, Swissport International AG achieved strong volume growth on the back of the sustained recovery in global air traffic and trade. The Group handled 3.9 million flights (2022: 3.3 million), a plus of 15.3 percent, and served some 232 million airline passengers (2022: 186 million), which is an increase of 24.6 percent. In the air cargo segment, Swissport handled 4.7 million metric tons of freight (2022: 4.8 million).
Swissport International AG, the global leader in airport ground services and air cargo handling, last year realized strong volume growth and further ramped up its operation as post-pandemic travel demand continued to surge. Although recruiting remained challenging due to a persistent global labor shortage, Swissport provided its airline customers with reliable ground operations across a global network of almost 300 airports on six continents.
“After the bumpy return of global air traffic to normal operations in 2022, Swissport in 2023 has delivered the reliable, clockwork type ground operations airlines seek,” says Warwick Brady, President and CEO of Swissport International AG. “As the global market leader – present at more airports than any other ground handler – we were able to swiftly rebuild our teams to some 60,000 people globally, who now again provide airlines with the operating environment and services required for them to confidently and safely expand their flight schedules.”
In the ground services segment, which includes services like check-in and gate, ground movement of aircraft, baggage handling and aircraft de-icing, the number of flights handled increased to 3.9 million (2022: 3.3 million). The number of airline passengers served increased by 24.6 percent to some 232 million in 2023 (2022: 186 million), reflecting a strong growth in demand for air travel. Wage inflation, rising interest rates and the wars in Ukraine and Gaza continue to negatively impact global business and consumer confidence. Despite these uncertainties, Swissport handled a solid 4.7 million metric tons of freight in 2023 after 4.8 million tons in the prior year.
“For 2024 we have high ambitions. We are working with our airline customers to jointly take our partnerships to the next level and deliver the best travel experience in the market,“ says Warwick Brady. “We continue to invest in product and service innovations and in operational excellence, leveraging the potential of digital innovation and AI supported solutions to drive value creation for Swissport and our customers. As the sector leader we also invest in a more environmentally friendly operation, making our contribution to protecting the planet. As one key commitment here, Swissport will further increase the share of electrically powered vehicles in its fleet to at least 55 percent by 2032. Longer term, we are committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by latest 2050.”
Swissport also further improved its operational safety performance in 2023. The rate of injuries that lead to absences from the workplace, the so-called lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), improved to 1.05 events per 100,000 hours worked. This is a significant 11.8 percent improvement over 2022, and 34.0 percent over 2019. Swissport’s continued focus on safety awareness and training is helping to improve safety in the workplace.
Across its network of nearly 300 airports, Swissport recruited and qualified tens of thousands of new people and integrated them into its global workforce in 2023. At year-end 2023, the company employed 60,000 staff and is currently driving a broad recruitment initiative, to fill some 5,000 positions before the summer travel peak.
Swissport is also looking to secure new business at more leading hubs of global aviation. In the current market environment, airlines increasingly focus on their core business. Many turn to Swissport when outsourcing ground services, and increasingly so for hub or large base operations. Since taking over its first hub operation in Zurich, Switzerland, more than 20 years ago, Swissport has established itself as the preferred hub expert and airline partner with a steadily growing number of hubs and large base operations in its global portfolio.