The Civil Aviation Ministry has allowed Ajay Singh-led SpiceJet to carry out self-handing of cargo from "off-airport facilities", causing heartburn among private airport operators.
The order has been issued in accordance with ground-handling regulations (GHA), 2018 but has left some of the private airport operators miffed as this means loss of revenue for them.
The private airport operators want all the cargo to move through the designated handlers at the airport and argue non-adherence of this may create safety issues.
In its order, the nodal Ministry has said that SpiceJet would self-handle their cargo subject to required clearance from aviation security watchdog, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
"The matter has been examined in this Ministry in the light of GHA regulations and permission of BCAS to SpiceJet Pvt Ltd to self-handle its own cargo and it has been decided that necessary instructions be issued to airport operators to comply with above directions and facilitates all domestic airlines for self-handling of their own cargo from off-airport facilities in a seamless manner and ensure that no hurdle is faced by the domestic airlines by the airport operators in the matter," the Aviation Ministry wrote to BCAS.
SpiceJet operates a dedicated air cargo service under the brand name SpiceXpress with a fleet of B737 aircraft. As in case of passengers, the airline has aggressively expanded its cargo operations on both domestic and international routes.
SpiceJet has fast expanded its passenger operations, adding new planes to its fleet.
Following Jet Airways shutdown last April, the government had waived a mandatory customs requirement to send the grounded airline's aircraft first to the lessor and then bring it back to India. SpiceJet had benefitted the most from the move as it allowed the carrier to swiftly take over the grounded aircraft of Jet Airways.