Jan 22, 2019: Swissport is targeting a double-digit revenue growth in the Middle East during the 2019 financial year amid trade friction between US-China, which is likely to stall its cargo volumes growth in the coming months.

“Our revenue growth in the Middle East will be over 10 percent year-on-year whereas in other mature markets, like Europe, it will be in the range of only 2 to 3 percent. This region is a fast accelerator and contributing nearly 10 percent in our global revenue,” stated Luzius Wirth, executive vice president Europe Middle East and Africa at Swissport.

Growth in the cargo market, which is currently contributing 40 percent to Swissport’s Middle East revenues, would be one of the main expansion drivers in 2019, he said. The growth also depends on local aviation authorities opening more doors for foreign players.

The Zurich-based airport-cargo handler is expecting nearly 10 percent flattening in its global cargo volumes growth, if US-China trade tensions continue. There is also a worry about potential rise in labour costs if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Swissport, which has invested $70 million in Oman and Saudi Arabia in airport ground handling services in the last two years, is also looking for fresh investments in the Arabian Gulf region.

“Right now our main focus in GCC is on Saudi and Oman, where we are currently handling only ground services. Besides trying to enter into cargo services, we are also in talks with other countries in the region,” said Wirth.

Spreading into Saudi Arabia, Swissport has recently won contracts from Dutch airline KLM and Indian carrier Indigo. In addition to the new business with these airlines, Swissport is also working with flydubai, Jordan Aviation, Fly Baghdad and Sun Express for airport ground services in Jeddah.

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