Budget carrier SpiceJet has outsourced part of its groundhandling operations at Mumbai airport to CelebiNAS Airport Services amid increasing financial woes for domestic airlines in the wake of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely impacted travel demand, sources said. According to the sources, the Gurugram-based airline has informed the loaders and drivers that they will no longer be on its payroll from next month and they should appear for interviews at CelebiNAS Airport Services India from April 26 onwards. When contacted, both Celebi and SpiceJet confirmed the developments.
“Yes, they (SpiceJet) have decided to do so (outsource a part of the groundhandling operations to CelebiNAS in Mumbai). We have been in discussion with them for some time now,” Murali Ramachandran, India CEO of Celebi Aviation Holding, told PTI in response to a query on this issue. He added that this is a commercial decision taken based on the savings they get by outsourcing such non-core operations to handlers like us. “We bring in better economies of scale. (But), this decision is not due to inability to pay staff salary. They have been paying the salaries. Going forward they, will be paying us the handling charges. We have been handling their freighters all this while,” said Ramachandran.
In response to a PTI query, a SpiceJet spokesperson said the airline has outsourced its partial ground operations at the Mumbai airport to CelebiNAS from May 1, 2021. “As part of the arrangement, CelebiNAS will have a recruitment drive to absorb maximum support staff from SpiceJet to protect employees’ interest.” The spokesperson said the current COVID-19 wave has severely impacted passenger demand and flight operations. The decision has been taken “in view of the massive uncertainty of demand, created by the second wave of COVID-19 in India”, he added.