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New ground handling policy at metro airports deferred till Dec 31

Departure area of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
Departure area of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
The government today said it had decided to defer the exit of non-entitled entities from ground handling operations at the metropolitan airports in the country under the new policy in this regard until December 31 this year.

An official press release said the Ministry of Civil Aviation would now undertake a thorough review of the policy, after all necessary inter-Ministerial consultations, before that date.

The government had on February 1, 2007, approved a new ground handling policy wherein it was decided that ground handling operations at all Indian metropolitan airports would be undertaken by the subsidiary companies of the national carrier (NACIL) or its joint ventures (JV) and two other agencies from any of the following categories:

i. The airport operator itself or its JV partner.
ii. Any other ground handling service provider selected through a competitive bidding process.

At all other airports, in addition to the above entities, the domestic airline operators, were also permitted to undertake self-handling.

Airline operators or ground handling service providers not covered by this policy were not to be allowed to undertake self-handling or third party handling with effect from the deadline fixed, which was June 30, 2009

According to the release, after the announcement of the policy in 2007, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had received a number of representations regarding large-scale loss of employment of personnel employed by airlines in metro airports for ground handling.

Airlines had also represented about the loss of substantial investment made by them in ground handling and other related equipments.

The airlines also wished to continue with those aspects of ground handling which required passenger interface like check-in, which directly impacted service standards of the airlines and were part of the product offered by them. The airlines had also complained about the high charges of ground handling agencies.

"To examine these matters thoroughly, to ascertain the readiness of the airport operators and to streamline the policy to achieve world-class standards of ground handling in Indian airports, and at the same time address the concerns of all stakeholders, the Government has decided to defer the exit of all non-entitled entities from all ground handling operations at the six metro airports to 31 December, 2009," the release added.

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