Indian handling policy changes

Written by: Alwyn Brice |
While this has been "decided" it is left to be seen how they implement this or enforce it. There ...

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The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has finally made a decision on the matter of contracted handling labour at its airports.

From January onwards, all airline third party contracted labour at airports has been declared illegal. This controversial topic has been simmering away for many months now and indeed, GHI reported on the matter back in August 2017, noting that any attempt to withdraw this facility would be likely to result in widespread protest.

It is well known that in terms of required manpower, many Indian airports are over-staffed. Whilst employment figures are kept buoyant, there has been genuine concern over the quality and training of those recruited on an ad hoc basis to work airside. Regulated and certificated third party handlers have complained about the standards such sub-contracted labour has brought to the ramp, underlining the fact that as bona fide handlers, they have to abide by many rules and regulations that seem to be ignored by the casual workforce.

The Ministry has emphasised that whilst all ground handling staff (aside from independents) must be regular airline employees, foreign carriers will be allowed to perform their own pre-security ground handling (save at defence airports).

Moreover, domestic scheduled airline operators, including helicopter service providers, will be allowed to perform self-handling at airports, including the civil enclaves; however, foreign carriers will not be permitted this facility at any domestic station and so will have to seek third party help.

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While this has been "decided" it is left to be seen how they implement this or enforce it. There are loopholes that are used to make the wage bill low. From the number of people hired, most of them have the operational training certificates only on paper. The staff of course CAN be trained but are not. Take the case of Air India. It is grossly overstaffed but if they would USE the manpower sanely, they could do well. However they still outsource a lot of tasks. But yes, developments are positve and if the cynical mind looks the other way, this could lead to a lot of improvements.

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