It was only a couple of months ago that the ‚airport services association‘ (ASA) was convinced that they are making progress in their dialogue with IATA in gaining more recognition for
the handlers association within the IATA and International Ground Handling Conference (IGHC) scene.
Now it seems that asa is deeply concerned that IATA wants to radically change the IGHC structure.
ASA not being consulted on changes.
In a letter to the new IATA Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, the 91 members of the handlers association, who claim to represent more than 200.000 ground handling employees across the globe, make it clear that they are not impressed at the way that IATA is in their eyes striving to change the structure of the IGHC.
The ASA members are adamant about the fact that IATA’s planned change of IGHC structure to a new entity Ground Operations Working Group (GOG) and its composition change from quasi equal representation (Chair being airline and having the casting vote) to 1/3 - 2/3 for airlines will have negative effects on SGHA and AHM industry templates and are annoyed that they (ASA), as a main representative of the ground handling scene and the IGHC officers have not been consulted by IATA’s Operations Committee OPC despite the efforts of some IATA top managers.
The ASA Board of Directors has informed their members that they will oppose any of these changes unless they are officially. brought into the discussion.
Letter outlines the concerns of the ground handling community
The two page letter to Mr de Juniac is aimed at impressing upon him as “the new kid on the block“ at IATA, that the ‘airport services association’ is deeply concerned about the changes planned and more so about asa’s relationship with IATA.
It was hoped some months ago that IATA would clearly recognize ASA’s role within the handling community and subsequently involve them more equally in negotiations and changes to the AHM, IGOM and Standard Ground Handling Agreement.
It is interesting to note that the letter highlights the fact that today more than 60% of airline ground handling is outsourced and that this figure will rise to 73% by 2022.
When taking the Low Cost Carriers (LCC) into consideration, most of which have outsourced all handling, but are not IATA members, the the figure according to ASA statistics would be industry-wide, almost 100%.
ASA’s point here is that most of the expertise in ground handling operations rests within the membership of their association.
Hence, their disappointment and anger that they are not being consulted, questioned or recognized by IATA when it comes to changes, amendments and new ideas relating to the AHM, SGHA and suchlike.
Furthermore, the ASA members stress that they have endeavored to work closely with IATA through the IGHC on various working groups and task forces which cover many of the areas of interest for their members.
These, they point out, range from providing experts from the ASA group to develop the standard ground handling agreement (SGHA) as well as the AHM Load Control processes, GSE standards and other aspects.
All of this, the letter states, has been done at no cost to IATA as the members offer their time freely.
Time to change the approach
“The time has come for a change in approach and relationship,“ states Samim Aydin, ASA’s Chairman.
In the same breath he asks that both IATA and ASA be able to set up a dialogue on a future working model which would give the handling community the recognition it deserves and the voice to be an internal part of future changes.
He even goes as far to state that the board of ASA will recommend to its members that there should be no further participation at the IGHC unless this fundamental change actually comes about.
One wonders how, if at all, the IATA top floor will react to the demand of the ground handling community.
We’ll follow up on it.
John Mc Donagh