THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Air India has scrapped the controversial decision to permit its foreign joint venture firm Air India SATS Airport Terminal Services (AI-SATS) to carry out the ground handling work at the upcoming Kannur international airport. Instead, the job has been handed over to its fully-owned subsidiary, Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL). The decision came close on the heels of Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU), the recognised union of Air India and AIATSL employees, moving the court against the decision.
A high-level delegation led by AIATSL chief executive officer A.K. Sharma called on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and KIAL top officials, including the newly-appointed chief executive officer P. Bala Kiran, in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday and conveyed Air India’s decision. DC had earlier reported that AI had nominated AI-SATS as ground handling agency for Kannur airport overlooking the objections from AI employees. AI-SATS is a joint venture firm of Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services.
According to sources, Air India's decision to hand over the ground handling work to AI-SATS flouted Air India’s turnaround plan of 2012 to improve the national carrier’s financial position. The ACEU had submitted memorandums to the civil aviation minister and Air India higher-ups opposing the decision. The High Court also sent notices to the civil aviation ministry and Air India. These seemed to have prompted the AI top management to review its earlier decision.
AIATSL has been carrying out ground handling services at 69 airports in the country, including Nedumbassery and Karippur international airports, over the past many years. It has experienced manpower and modern equipment. AIATSL is likely to carry out local recruitment for Kannur airport, which is scheduled to be commissioned this year, aviation industry sources said. The delegation that called on the chief minister and others also included AIATSL general manager A. Murugaiyan and coordinator (southern region) A.V. Mohan....