Company at centre of Dublin Airport baggage delays returns to profit

At one stage, Sky Handling Partner had 2,897 passengers’ bags languishing at the airport

Sky Handling Partner, one of the companies at the centre of the major summer delays in reuniting passengers with their luggage at Dublin Airport, returned to profit during 2021 as the Covid-19 crisis began to ebb.

The company highlighted problems hiring staff to replace the “knowledgeable and experienced workers” who left the industry during the pandemic when health restrictions severely limited flying. At one stage, the company that provides ground handling operations to several airlines in Dublin had 2,897 passengers’ bags languishing at the airport.

The directors of the company in recent days filed the group’s financial statements for 2021. The company made a profit of €1,505,805, turning around a loss of €863,846 the year before. The directors did not recommend payment of a dividend.

At the end of the financial year, the company had assets of €10.4 million, up from €8.4 million the year before. It had liabilities of €1.9 million, up from €1.5 million. Net assets increased by €1,505,805.


Sky Handling Partner employed an average of 253 staff in the year, down from 284 a year earlier, but staff costs rose to €7.1 million from €6.7 million.

The directors said the airline industry has witnessed a “dramatic increase in demand” and that most airlines had projected a return to pre-Covid levels by the middle of this year.

“However, there were casualties as a result of Covid,” they said. “Most notably Stobart Air which ceased trading in June 2021 leaving the company [Sky Handling Partner] with a bad debt of €73,000, and a substantial reduction in projected revenue.

“That aside, the company has successfully navigated a turbulent year and remains strong with an unencumbered cash position at year end of €4.7 million. This strong cash position remains well into 2022.”

The company said it successfully tendered for Emerald Airlines, essentially the replacement for Stobart Air. Other contracts secured in 2020 were Etihad, Icelandair and Eurowings, “all commencing operations as scheduled in 2021″.

“Subsequent to year-end, the company also secured Fly Play and Air Canada, adding to its wide body operation,” the company said. It said the cancellation by Aeroflot of all flights until further notice following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, had had “no material effect” on the company.

“Albeit, we are not yet back to pre-Covid levels, we feel with the ever-increasing demands from airlines to add Dublin Airport to their offering, coupled with our strong commercial relationships we are positioned well to continue to grow the business into the future,” they added.

The company had net assets of €8.45 million and net current assets of €5.36 million at the end of the year.

At the end of June this year, when the financial statements were approved, it said activity levels had “improved substantially”, and it was expected that activity in 2022 will return to circa 75 per cent of the activity achieved in 2019.

The company said it has measures in place to protect liquidity and manage costs following the cessation of Government subsidies in April.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter