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Airport employees protest privatisation

Over 21,000 staff across the country launch a day's relay fast to protest against privatisation of airports.

business Updated: Feb 12, 2008 17:32 IST

More than 21,000 airport employees across the country launched a day's "relay fast" to protest against privatisation of airports.

"We are protesting the privatising of airports being implemented by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and also in support of other pending demands," Dilip Gujjar, national assistant general secretary of the Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU), told IANS.

According to an official at Mumbai Airport, the protest is unlikely to cause any disruption in air traffic control but could hit ground operations at airport terminals.

"Most of the non-executive workforce of the union is involved in cleaning the terminals and managing the conveyor belt operations," the official said.

The AAEU is also protesting the development of green field airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore, which will close down airports currently run by the AAI.

"In Delhi and Mumbai, where the government has privatised the airports, the employees are being compelled to join the consortium. This is not acceptable to us," Gujjar said.

He added that there were several other demands of AAI employees that have not been met despite several requests to the government in the past one and a half year.

The Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), which manages the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, has said that flight operations will not be affected.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi has prepared a backup plan to meet any emergency situation.