Airline employees may lose jobs due to ground-handling policy

December 16th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Airline employees engaged in ground-handling work at airports may lose their jobs once the new ground-handling policy comes into effect next month.The new policy would relieve airlines of ground-handling activities and enable airport management to outsource the work to a separate agency.

According to a senior official at the Airports Authority of India (AAI), over 50,000 people employed with foreign airlines at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Banaglore and Hyderabad airports are at the risk of losing their jobs. Other airlines too have alerted their Indian employees about the possibility of job losses.

Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, stating security reasons, asked all airlines to outsource ground-handling activities from Jan 1, 2009, to an agency chosen by the airport operator.

Employees’ unions representing over 30,000 workers of National Aviation Co. Ltd (Nacil), which runs Air India, have threatened to go on strike to oppose the government’s decision to set up a ground-handling services joint venture with Singapore Airport Terminal Services (Sats).

The 50-50 joint venture is expected to come into force from Jan 1, 2009. Air India’s ground-handling services contribute Rs.8 billion annually towards the revenue. The airline has over 20,000 ground-handling employees, who will be shifted to the new joint venture.

Airlines feel the move to spin off the ground-handling business is good for the airline. “This is being done to compete with others,” said an airline official, requesting anonymity.

However, the government may postpone the implementation of the policy due to employees’ protests.

Ground-handling is a crucial work for any airline and is linked to security and safety also. It includes transporting passengers and their baggage from the terminal and aircraft, check-in and coordination with airport operator.

The first action concerning layoffs come from Air France, where the airline has asked its employees in Mumbai to resign voluntarily or face retrenchment next month. A source said all the Air France ground-handling employees have decided to resign voluntarily.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |