Blue Dart criticised the proposed policy, saying it ignores the needs of express cargo services which require special handling and would only be increasing their costs and decrease effi ciency of the operations.
The policy says that the same set of agents would handle passenger baggage and cargo that is carried in the bellyhold of passenger aircraft and express cargo. Cargo carriers in the US and Europe are allowed to do their own ground handling.
“We have engaged consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to look at the air cargo policy, which will be finalised in some time. Issues being looked at include allowing cargo carriers to do their own ground handling at airports. We understand that ground handling agents may not be skilled enough to handle express cargo which is operated by freighter airlines,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
The ground handling policy says that the same set of agents would handle passenger baggage, cargo that is carried in the bellyhold of passenger aircraft and express cargo. Ground handling agents like Menzies Bobba and Air India- Sats already do the ground handling at Hyderabad and Bangalore airports.
“The proposed ground handling policy would significantly impact the quality of air express airline operations and render the business untenable. We would recommend a review of the policy to exclude air express airline operations because of the special needs of the segment that are completely different from the passenger segment and because of the significant role air express cargo plays in trade facilitation within the country and across borders. We are making our representation to the ministry,” said Tulsi Mirchandaney,managing director, Blue Dart.