Air France-KLM has sold 100% of its London Heathrow ground handling subsidiary, Cobalt Ground Solutions, to French company Groupe CRIT.
Cobalt Ground Solutions was founded from the merger of two Air France and KLM’s ground handling subsidiaries—AFSL and KGS—in 2009.
The company performs check-in, ticketing, baggage and ramp handling at Heathrow’s terminals 3 and 4, as one of eight ground handlers at the airport. Its customers include Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, China Southern, US-based Delta Air Lines, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, India’s Jet Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM Cityhopper, Korean Airlines and the UK’s Virgin Atlantic.
In an announcement Jan. 6, KLM CFO Erik Swelheim confirmed the sale to Groupe CRIT’s Group Europe Handling subsidiary has been completed, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in November 2016.
Groupe CRIT said the acquisition will rank as the third largest ground handler at Heathrow. The French firm has more than 130 airlines customers and employs 3,000 staff. It provides services at Nice, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly through Group Europe Handling, as well as at London City, Dublin and Shannon through a company called Sky Handling Partner. The group is also active in Congo, the Dominican Republic, Gabon and Sierra Leone.
“The integration of Cobalt Ground Solutions, to be effective on Jan. 1, 2017, would bring to the airport division of the group additional sales over €40 million ($42.2 million),” Groupe CRIT said, when it announced the MoU in November.
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