The new clause 3.3 of the SGHA 2018 prohibits self-handling if an airline has already outsourced it as part of the SGHA. In Europe, for example, the 1996 EU Groundhandling Directive (96/67/EC) opened up the groundhandling market to competition and maintained the carrier`s general freedom to clear customs at an airport itself. Many of these changes are purely editorial and modify SGHA 2013. However, some changes are significant and focus on operational practices, improved standards, training, bankruptcies, claims and compliance in general. We briefly reviewed the main changes to the Main Agreement and Appendix B and looked at what they might mean for users. Of course, carriers have their own ground operations manual, other service provider guidelines, codes of conduct, approach policies, customer service (e.g.B a customer charter, style, and even branding. Check-in companies are often the face of an airline at an airport. Airlines must provide sufficient information to enable carriers to carry out customs clearance correctly (new clause 5.1). SGHA 2018 has highlighted broader audit rights, in accordance with clause 5.9, to allow other airlines, within an IATA audit pool, to examine the terminal for the benefit of that pool. At present, 37 airlines are in the ISAGO audit pool, which can benefit from common operational audit reports for the same customs clearance at a given airport. The training rules in the new clause 5.6 define as a minimum awareness of the rules and regulations applicable to the material handler and refer to the IATA materials in clause 5.3. It will be interesting to see how claims are handled and whether this results in the airline`s internal processes to track and monitor cargo claims.
Improvements can be made if airlines use more detailed documentation requirements for cargo shipments and the handling of irregularities (in points 5.3.1 and 5.7 of Annex A respectively). IATA has explicitly identified its resolutions and standard practices as benchmarks for the provision of services to businesses and has presented them verbatim in the new subsections 5.3 (a) and b). Amended clause 7.3 and new clause 7.4 give the customs clearance the right to suspend services if the airline fails to pay in the event of insolvency or requests immediate advance payment or cash payment. Given the historical liquidity issues faced by some airlines, it is perhaps surprising that these clauses have not been previously included in the ASA. This does not mean that handling companies will be anything other than unsecured creditors for unpaid invoices. Depending on the current SGHA legislation, advances or cash advances may be contrary to existing local insolvency rules. However, in practice, it is difficult to imagine this unless an airline has sufficient resources (such as ground support staff and equipment) to play the role of an incumbent. The activities of most airlines are thin and are increasingly thin. The insolvency of carriers can also have a wider impact.
For example, the UK CAA suspended Monarch Airlines` AOC when it went bankrupt in October 2017 and forced it to cease operations with immediate effect. They no longer needed groundhandling services. In the 2013 SGHA, there was some confusion as to the time limit that applies to a carrier`s right to compensation. The confusion was caused by the phrase: “Any claim shall be filed within the time limits set out in Article 31.2 of the 1999 Montreal Convention”. Article 31.2 sets out the time limits of the agreement for the exercise of the claims of the person entitled to the shipment in respect of damaged and delayed cargoes, which are 14 and 21 days respectively. It does not respond to a carrier`s claims against a debacacitor. The 38th edition of IATA`s Airport Handling Manual (AHM) is now live….