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New ground-handling policy to come into effect from Wednesday

New ground-handling policy aimed at improving security and quality of ground-handling services in all airports across the country will come into effect from on Tuesday.



New Delhi: New ground-handling policy aimed at
improving security and quality of ground-handling services in
all airports across the country will come into effect from
on Tuesday.

Under the policy, airlines will have to deploy full-time
employees at airports for ground-handling jobs or hire the
services of security-cleared ground handling agencies. The
airlines cannot deploy outsourced manpower for doing ground
handling on their own, which is in practice.

Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi on Tuesday met with the
officials from the airlines, the airport operators and the
ground-handling agencies and reviewed the preparedness for
implementation of the policy from Wednesday.

The civil aviation ministry had proposed to introduce the
new ground handling policy from 2007, but implementation has
been delayed due to resistance from airlines and manpower
supplying agencies.

Authorised ground-handling agencies have assured the
government that modern equipment will be deployed and
standards set by International Air Travel Association (IATA)
would be met, which means replacement of diesel-engine
vehicles and outdated equipment like agriculture tractors
which are still in use at several airports to ferry luggage or
cargo to the aircraft.

Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had rejected a
plea by airlines to stay implementation of the policy.
However, airlines have approached the Supreme Court seeking a
stay on the new ground-handling policy. The matter is expected
to come before the apex Court on April four.

With new policy in place, country`s largest airport
operator - Airports Authority of India (AAI) is expected to
generate additional revenue of at least Rs 350 crore every
year as the authorised ground-handling agencies nominated by
it would start work at important airports like Chennai and
Kolkata from April 1.

Meanwhile, Customs authorities and officials of
cargo-handling firm Celebi Delhi Cargo Terminal Management
today met to resolve the problem of huge backlog in clearance
of export consignments at IGI Airport.

Hundreds of exporters from Delhi and North India have been
suffering huge financial losses due to congestion, resulting
in abnormal delays in the clearance of export cargo at the
airport here.

Celebi Delhi Cargo Terminal Management handles all cargo
operations at the airport and is a joint venture between the
Celebi Group of Turkey, with a 74 per cent stake, and Delhi
International Airport (P) Ltd (GMR Group) with a 26 per cent
stake.

PTI

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