Airlines take ground handling battle to SC

Airlines take ground handling battle to SC

New Delhi: Domestic private airlines took their appeal to the Supreme Court on Monday in the ground handling policy dispute they are having with the union government.

The court issued notice to all stakeholders and admitted the case, listing the matter on 25 April, when it will consider passing any interim orders. The court did not stay the judgment of the high court, although caustic observations were made on the policies of the government.

The dispute involves the handling of behind-the-scenes logistics at six of India’s major metropolitan airports.

The union government’s ministry of civil aviation in a 2007 circular proposed to take over these functions from airlines in order to invite competitive bids from various international ground handling agencies. The government’s move is based on better security management at the six largest airports.

After several talks broke down between the airlines and the government, the matter reached the Delhi high court.

The court ruled in favour of the government in December, signifying that ground handling would come to be a separate business.

However, things on the ground haven’t changed hands because the government is not yet in a position to take over ground handling functions. They have initiated the process of getting the private airlines to sign MoUs with a joint venture of the government and ground handling companies that won bids at the 6 airports.