There is still room to go, says CEO of joint venture

AISATS, a joint venture of Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services, is keen to invest more at the airport here as “there is still room to go.”

Disclosing this to The Hindu here on Monday, Willy Ko Tuck Chong, Chief Executive Officer, AISATS, said that of the Rs. 20 crore already pumped in, Rs. 15 crore was to enhance services and Rs. 5 crore to buy ground-handling equipment.

“Meeting the set targets and guidelines of the Airports Authority of India and IATA is a proof of service since we commenced operations in the country in 2008. The services provided is on a par with world class with the baggage presentation time going up to 95 per cent and online departure touching 99 per cent on an average during the past six months,” Mr. Chong said.

While redefining airport services using 855 trained personnel, AISATS brought in expertise to manage 7,000 aircraft turnarounds from the airport with a comprehensive range of facilities and equipment, he said.

The equipment include pushback tractors, conveyor belt loaders, ground cooling units, baggage tractors, passenger steps, main deck loaders, lower deck loaders, tow bars, tail stands and coaches. They are compliant with Euro III or higher standards, he added. A radio communication system for AISATS personnel will be introduced. Those in key areas of ground handling will be sent to Singapore to give them exposure to the services offered there.

Mr. Chong hoped that the airport would be able to attract more airlines and generate business once the airport infrastructure got upgraded with a modern domestic terminal.

AISATS offers end-to-end ground handling services such as passenger and baggage handling, ramp handling, aircraft interior cleaning, load control and flight operations for 11 airlines operating to the State capital. In addition, it undertakes ground handling in the airports in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mangalore with an 8,000-strong workforce.

On expanding the services to other airports in Kerala and in the country, Mr. Chong said, “We want to grow and expand. We are aware of the immense opportunities. But, now we are focussing on improving and enhancing the services in the five airports [where it is already present].”

Depending on the type of the aircraft, he said, AISATS has maintained an overall turnaround time of 45 to 60 minutes for its airline customers, which is an internationally accepted standard of an airport’s operational efficiency.