SC refuses to stay increase in airline ground handling charges

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to stay government`s order increasing royalty charges from private airlines for ground handling.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur declined to give a stay order on a petition filed by Federation of Indian Airlines which alleged that state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) has increased the royalty by nearly three times during last one month.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Federation, pleaded that it is a violation of apex court order which had directed the Centre to maintain status quo pertaining to ground handling charges while hearing its plea.

The bench, however, was not satisfied and asked the Federation to file a fresh petition before an appropriate authority,

In a letter sent on July 31 to all airlines, AAI said effective August 1, ground handling agencies will have to pay between 32 per cent to 36 per cent of their revenues to AAI from the earlier 13 per cent.

Ground-handling services include check-in, baggage handling, cargo handling, aircraft cleaning, loading and unloading of food & beverages on aircraft, providing electricity back-up to aircraft while they are at airports, supplying water to the carrier, ferrying passengers to and from planes, and maintaining toilets.