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Airlines challenge DGCA's ground handling dictat news
05 April 2011

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Union of India and others on a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Airlines and others challenging a dictat issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) which seeks to prevent private airlines from providing their own ground handling operations at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.

A court bench comprising Justice RV Raveendran and Justice AK Patnaik issued interim orders saying that petitioner airlines shall be entitled to renewal of passes and their ground handling staff subject to their entering into an MoU with any ground handling agency without prejudice.

The Bench posted the matter for further hearing to April 25.

Counsels Mukul Rohtagi, AV Rangam and BA Ranganadhan appeared on behalf of the petitioners.

Domestic airlines contend that their business of running an airline consists not just owning and operating aircraft but also providing ground handling facilities through personnel dedicated to such a task.

It was also argued on their behalf that though there may be outsourced personnel or services for such work, the choice of whether to outsource, what to outsource, and to whom to outsource, has been, and ought to be, the preserve of the airlines concerned.

The DGCA's and AAI's disputed regulations would compel airlines to undertake ground handling work either through the airport operator or through the National Aviation Co Ltd or its agencies.

This would lead to massive retrenchment of staff already in place with airlines over a long period of time.

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Airlines challenge DGCA's ground handling dictat