The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has addressed concerns with the new ground handling policy with a meeting with the airline representatives.
Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh addressed their apprehensions about the new policy of the government on ground handling of flights at Indian airport which was to be implemented from 31 December 2010. The meeting was attended by representatives of the airlines including Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Indigo and Go Air, airport operators and senior Government officials.
The airline representatives raised concerns over the increase in the cost of ground handling and adjustments of their employees engaged in ground handling operations. The airline emphasised that they should be allowed self-handling at six metro airports also on the pattern of non-metro airports.
Singh said that the new policy has been framed after approval of Cabinet Committee on security (CCS) with the prime objective to minimize safety and security risks. This also aims at bringing economies of scale, ensure optimal utilization of personnel and equipment and bring standardization.
Allaying the fears of the airlines regarding monopoly of few ground handlers Singh clarified that there can be as many ground handlers as can fulfill the conditions stipulated in this regard except airlines themselves. “The airlines can even create their subsidiaries for the purpose of ground handling and these subsidiaries can participate in the process to become designated ground handler. However, outsourcing of employees is not permitted due to security reasons,” Singh said.
The Ministry also called upon the airlines to motivate low cost ground handlers from across the world to come to India and participate in the Indian operations to bring competitiveness and cost effectiveness. Singh informed that the Ministry and Airports Authority of India (AAI) are looking into rationalization of royalty to be paid by ground handlers to airport operators including Airport Authority of India so that the cost of ground handling remains reasonable.
As per the new policy the following entities became eligible to undertake ground handling services at airports:-
For all metro airports located at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad:
(a) The airport operator itself or its Joint Venture partner.
(b) Subsidiary companies of the National Carrier or its Joint Venture specialized in ground handling services.
(c) Any other ground handling service providers selected through competitive bidding on revenue sharing by the airport operator.
A minimum of two ground handling service providers would be authorized at these airports in addition to the subsidiaries of National Carrier.
At all other airports:
In addition to the entities mentioned above, the airline operators except the foreign airlines were permitted to undertake self-handling.
(a) All private airlines, including foreign airlines, may undertake self handling in respect of “passenger and baggage handling activities at the airport terminals” and “traffic service including the passenger check-in”, which require passenger interface, at all airports.
(b) All cargo airlines, which have their own cargo aircraft, may undertake self handling in their hub airports.
(c) The time limit for exit of non-entitled entities be extended beyond 31-12-2009 up to 31-12-2010; and
(d) Foreign airlines and private independent ground handling service providers not be permitted self ground handling/ground handling at joint user Defence airfields.