Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different
airport ground handling models.
Every countries’ airport ground handling may differ
from one another. Majority of the countries are managing their own airports
ground handling operations by either U.S model, EU model or Third-party model.
This report is to show the comparison of U.S model, EU model and Third-party
model. In addition, also discussing on Changi Airport, Singapore’s ground
Define the key ground handling models are used around
Ground handing is one of the major key activities for
airport operation. The ground handling can be defined as the myriad of services
provided to an aircraft in preparation for pre-take-off and post-landing of a
flight. Also, not forgetting of those activities carried out before the
aircraft arrives at a terminal gate, those provided during the time the
aircraft is at the gate and those which are accomplished after the aircraft has
departed for its next flight. The ground handling varies in all the countries
and it is also not the same in multiple airports within a same country. Ground
handling operation is advancing due to increasing numbers of air travel
There are three main models that are used around the
world for ground handling; U.S model, EU model and Third-party model. Below is
a simplified structure of the ground handling markets.
1: Simplified Structure Model (ec.europa.eu)
Firstly, U.S model is very different since small
portion of ground handling is performed by independent organisations. Majority
of the ground handlings carried out in the U.S is managed by dedicated airline
such as United Airline and American Airline. This does not mean that all U.S airport
operates this way, there are other companies out there like Swissport. In recent
days, Swissport Ground Handling business provides passengers and ramp handling
more than 220 stations globally and also providing their services to more than
224 million passengers in a year. In today world, Swissport is also known as a
huge ground handler with plenty of hubs and low-cost carrier bases
internationally. Below are some of the services Swissport provide.
Ticketing Sales Desk
and Transfer Services
and Found Services
Passenger and VIP Services
Aircraft Servicing and Ramp Handling
Sorting and Transportation
Load Device Control
and Water Services
Hence, US model basically means that the airlines are
heavily involved in the ground handling activities. The airline will provide
services and equipment for themselves.
Secondly, mentioning about EU model for ground
handling, it is not the same as U.S model. Initially for EU model, airport will
operate their ground handling services by itself which is different from US
model where airlines will run their ground handling services. This will be like
a monopoly game as previously it was the norm for ground handling activities in
EU airports. Most of the airlines was unsatisfied for the steep costs and the
lack of quality services. Thus, the European Commission (EC) came up with rules
to reduce and try to put an end to monopolies in EU ground handling activities.
EU models will be under airport authority and which they will be managed by the
government. This allows free contest for most of the ground handling activates
at EU airports, leading in more options for airlines. Having more choices for
airlines means that the service levels will be improved and the fares for
passenger will be lower. In addition, for those services like baggage handling,
ramp handling, fuelling and freight services, the Member State might keep a cap
for number of suppliers.