Air India (AI) passengers at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai and other airports across the country will witness delay in baggage clearance and other inconveniences in the coming months as AI employees’ union will conduct a series of demonstrations and strikes to protest against the new ground handling policy of the government. According to a report in today’s Daily News & Analysis (DNA), the union is agitating against ground handling contracts being awarded to foreign companies and National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) being forced to form a Joint Venture if the former wants to continue with ground services.
AI passengers will have to face inconvenience today as the airline employees will walk out of the terminal to protest against the new Ground Handling Policy (GHP). The Civil Aviation Joint Action Front (CAJAF), formed by Air Corporation Employees’ Union (ACEU) and Aviation Industry Employees’ Guild (AIEG), staged a demonstration outside the CSIA in Santacruz, Mumbai from 12.30 to 1 pm today. “This will affect baggage, cargo handling and catering services,” said an ACEU member. The CAJAF, consisting of 8,000 employees from Mumbai and 12,000 across India, are protesting against NACIL being forced to form a JV with SATS (a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines) for ground-handling under the new GHP that comes into force from January 2009.
Till now, NACIL (merged company of AI and Indian) carried out ground handling for themselves and other international airlines. “NACIL earns Rs 1,000 crore from ground handling of other airlines and carries out ground handling worth Rs 1,500 crore for AI and Indian, which is free. If we form a Joint Venture with SATS, we will have to give them 50 per cent of these earnings,” informed George Abraham, General Secretary, AIEG.