Sky Handling Partner, the Irish airport services firm that is owned by France’s Groupe Crit, swung to a near €1m pre-tax loss last year as air travel was ravaged by the Covid pandemic.
The loss was compounded by bad debts of €222,000 linked to the collapse of Flybe and €55,000 incurred after CityJet went into examinership during 2020.
The company provides ground handling services at Dublin and Shannon airports, both of which saw passenger numbers collapse as the pandemic took hold last year.
Accounts just filed for the firm relate only to operations at Dublin Airport.
Those latest set of accounts show that turnover at the business tumbled to €9.1m last year from €23.4m a year earlier.
The loss racked up in 2020 compared to a €1.7m profit the year before.
The company also received close to €1m of government Covid-related supports in 2020.
“The airline industry was and continues to be significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, starting with the demise of Flybe in early March and subsequent reductions of up to 80pc for all other airlines over a four-week period, resulting in a decrease in revenue of 61pc year-on-year,” noted the directors in the accounts.
“To minimise the effect of this dramatic reduction in activity, the company acted swiftly by implementing a redundancy programme at a cost of €456,000 and reducing its remaining cost base by 30pc,” they added. “These reductions, coupled with a strong opening cash position, enabled the company to protect the residual business and sustain itself during the remaining half of the year.”
The firm slashed its workforce almost in half in 2020, ending the year with an average of 284 staff, compared to 534 at the end of 2019.
The company secured a contract with LOT Polish Airlines in August last year and this year inked contracts with Etihad, Icelandair and Eurowings.
The directors said they had been expecting a “steady increase” in airline activity from June this year and that the company was on target to achieve its budgeted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation during 2021.
They added that while it may take several years to recover all of the lost activity, they remain optimistic that the company is well-positioned to grow in the future. Groupe Crit recently reported that its third-quarter revenue rose 17.1pc to €534m.