New Delhi: Private airlines, opposing the government’s proposed ground handling policy, made a strong case on Tuesday for allowing them to handle baggage and cargo carried by their aircraft, saying appointing others to do the job would increase costs and delay flights.
Senior representatives of private airlines put forth their views opposing the policy at a meeting with civil aviation secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar and other top officials.
“We heard their views on ground handling policy. We will have more rounds of discussions and hold inter-ministerial consultations on the matter. The cabinet committee on security will take a final view later,” Nambiar said after the meeting.
Strong case: A file photo of the New Delhi international airport. Madhu Kapparath / Mint
Before the committee takes up the matter for a final decision, discussions would also be held with finance and home ministries on issues relating to security and customs.
Ground handling activities range from passenger check-in, baggage and cargo handling to the cleaning and refuelling of aircraft. Under the present proposal, ground handling activities at six airports of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad are to be allowed only by the airport operators or their subsidiaries, Air India or its subsidiaries, or service providers selected through competitive bidding.
Private carriers have opposed the policy in its current form. The airlines, represented by the umbrella body Federation of Indian Airlines, said they were involved in ground handling activities for several years now and had invested large sums on equipment at various airports.