New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) on Tuesday pleaded before the Supreme Court that ground handling at airports is part of aviation business and the government cannot take it away from them.
The federation said their efficiency and time-bound services would be adversely affected if the handling duties is taken over by the government authorities and refuted the contentions of the Centre it has been done out of security concern.
"Ground handling is part of our business and we want it to be with us. My punctuality and quality of services would go haywire and I would to receive blame from my passengers," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the FIA, told a bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan.
He further submitted that government's contention that it has been done out of security concern is wrong as the private airlines have been handling ground work on more sensitive airports in Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and northeastern states.
Ground handling services include check-in, baggage handling, cargo handling, aircraft cleaning, loading and unloading of food and beverages on the aircraft, providing electricity back-up to aircraft while they are at airports, supplying water to the carrier, ferrying passengers to and from planes, and maintaining toilets.
The private airlines federation moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court order upholding the government plea of restraining private airline operators from continuing ground handling operations.
The petition claims the new policy violates the airlines' right of self-handling and would lead to 5,000 job losses.