Ground Handling

Ground Handling

As well as access to infrastructure, airlines require additional aeronautical services – such as baggage handling, aircraft towing and deicing –to operate. Before the liberalisation of the Ground Handling Market in 1996, airlines were the biggest provider of Ground Handling Services at airports, often being the sole service provider at a specific airport. In today’s open market, independent third parties compete to deliver these services and have become an important player in the market (45% of market share). At present airports account for only approximately 15% of the ground handling market.

While the opening of the market brought many benefits, problems remain. In Europe’s congested airport network, disruption can spread rapidly, and ground handlers are key players in efforts to prevent this. Minimal service quality standards need to be in place, to ensure that the actions of one party do not impede the functioning of the wider network. Airport operators need to be empowered to coordinate and manage aeronautical activities within their airports. The benefits of competition cannot be allowed to prevent ground handling from being properly integrated into the wider transport value chain.

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