In a policy reversal, the government on Thursday allowed Indian carriers to carry out ground-handling of their own flights at all the airports.
The proposal was made at a meeting civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had with representatives of airlines here, which came ahead of a hearing of the matter in the Supreme Court soon.
Under the 2007 policy, the main airports were supposed to have only three ground handling companies-- the Air India-Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS), the local airport operator in alliance with a ground handling partner and one to be chosen through competitive bidding.
The six airports are at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.
The airlines complained against the policy saying it would lead to largescale retrenchment and that there would be no alternative use of assets already in place.
"After taking into consideration views of all stake holders, a Cabinet Committee on Security note was submitted and it was approved that all private airlines, including foreign airlines, may undertake self handling in respect of 'passenger and baggage handling activities at the airport terminals' and 'traffic service including the passenger check-in', which require passenger interface, at all airports," a statment from the ministry said.
Also, all cargo airlines, which have their own cargo aircraft, would be allowed to undertake self handling in their hub airports.
But foreign airlines and private independent ground-handling service providers would not be permitted self ground-handling at joint user Defence airfields, it said.