AICL may suffer huge loss

Air India Charters Ltd (AICL), the ground handling arm of Air India, is likely to suffer a severe erosion in its business volume at the Cochin airport with its customer airlines proposing to deploy their own employees for baggage-screening in the domestic sector.

“The domestic carriers have approached the Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) authorities seeking permission to carry out baggage-screening by their own accredited screeners,” airline sources said.

The national carrier will lose lakhs as the CIAL, the owner of baggage-screening equipment, is most likely to approve the proposal, they added.

They attributed the move to an industrial action that put a stop to baggage-screening earlier this month at the domestic terminal.

By deploying their own employers, the airlines also hope to cut down the cost of baggage screening in the long run.

Strike by AICL staff

The strike by AICL employees on November 4 had caused a delay in baggage clearance, putting hundreds of passengers to hardship. The protest was held demanding the renewal of work contracts for 12 AICL employees who had earlier completed their contract period of 3 years.

The indecision over the renewal of contracts followed an impasse in the discussions between the AICL and Air India Air Transport Services Ltd. (AITSL) — a 100 per cent subsidiary of Air India — with regard to shifting the ground handling staff at Kochi to the latter.

Plan put on hold

Meanwhile, Air India has put on hold the plan to introduce AISATS, a 50:50 joint venture between the Air India and Singapore Air Transport Services, to take over the AI's ground handling operations here.

The agency had earlier held discussions with the CIAL authorities and received the nod for a launch here.

“The AISATS has been asked to concentrate on the existing airports so as to establish themselves and then move on to the newer markets,” official sources here said.

More centres

The AISATS, which came into existence by starting operations in Bangalore in 2008, has already expanded its business to Hyderabad, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram and is currently under the process of launching operations in select stations.

  • Airlines hope to cut cost of baggage screening in the long run
  • CIAL is most likely to approve the proposal