Monday, March 11, 2013

Exclusive! Ground Handling decision- D-Day approaches

Neelam Mathews
March 11, 2013
The ministry of civil aviation's decision to permit airlines form a JV, a subsidiary or "a consortium," for ground handling in Oct last year, was echoed by minister Ajit Singh at a recent conference in Delhi. The case, subjudice, is expected to come for a hearing in the Supreme Court in a few days and bring the matter to rest.
That there will be congestion in the apron area if every airline handles on its own, was brought out by the minister who made it clear that airlines could not independently do the ground handling. His suggestion that airlines create a consortium has resulted in more queries. A fact that is little known is that the airlines will only be allowed to form a JV when the ministry releases a new bid!
If this were to happen, questions remain. "How does an airline handle two flights at a time for instance? Besides, they are all competitors! Also, can an airline afford all the expensive equipment that is mandated now for Ground Handling?," said an airport official.
What happens to the earlier policy that had foreign companies investing in expensive ground handling equipment, we ask. This in a small way, is like the telecom deal- first approve the project and then take it away. Is it a wonder that we are not getting large foreign investment in the country?

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