To avoid movement of unauthorised people in terminal buildings

Ground handling services at the Chennai airport, now being handled by more than 40 agencies, will be handed over to a single agency appointed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) from January 1, 2011.

The AAI has entrusted the work to Bhadra International, a New Delhi-based company.

All the agencies who were involved in the ground handling work outsourced manpower. In an attempt to strengthen the security system and avoid movement of unauthorised people in terminal buildings, the AAI had issued a notification in October 2007, which stated that the work would be done by the AAI or its joint venture company; subsidiary companies of the National Aviation Company of India or its joint ventures specialised in ground handling services.

Apprehensions

A section of airlines raised apprehensions that the new company had only a very short period of time within which it may not be able to bring in the required equipment.

A senior AAI official pointed out that push back tractors, ground power unit and air starters are the important equipment required for ground handling services at an airport.

A minimum of four to five push back tractors and an equal number of ground power unit vehicles are needed for the Chennai airport. As for air starters, one or two is sufficient, the official said.

Another important condition in the notification was that the new agency should have ground handling equipment, which is not more than three years old. The officer pointed out that the existing equipment at the airport were more than a decade old and needed to be replaced. Hence the airlines raise doubts about the capacity of the private agency to bring in new ground handling equipment.

When contacted Prem Bajaj, chairman and managing director, Bhadra International, said already the company had booked orders with US and European companies to buy the ground handling equipment.

The company is spending Rs.200 crore for importing the equipment, which will be brought to Chennai before taking over the ground handling services, he said.