Ground Handling Exemptions for Foreign Air Carriers in Turkey
Turkish Civil Aviation is developing each passing day with extending capacity of passenger carried, increasing number of airlines and of course third airport project in Istanbul. According to the records of 2012 the amount of international passenger carried has increased 25% by passing beyond 130 million people from Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen Airports in Istanbul. In addition, cargo carriage also rose accordingly with 6,6 % increase over 2 million cargo/mail carriage has placed in 2012. Naturally it is inevitable to implement more and more regulations comply with current circumstances of civil aviation. Ground handling services got its share from new arrangements of Turkish Civil Aviation.
Under the terms of Turkish Civil Aviation, the types of ground handling services in Turkey are representation, passenger services, load control and communications, ramp, cargo and mail, aircraft cleaning, unit load device control, aircraft line maintenance: aircraft line maintenance, fuel and oil, flight operations, transport, catering services, supervision and administration, aircraft private security service and audit. Those services can be performed by a ground handling company which has obtained required working license. However, there are certain exceptions regarding who perform ground handling services. Accordingly, foreign airlines or national airlines are also entitled to perform some of those services as well.
According to Turkish Civil Aviation Act, foreigners are not allowed to set up a ground handling company 100% foreign ownership. It is required that, minimum 51% of the shares must belong to Turkish citizens. In addition, majority of the officials authorized to manage and represent ground handling companies must be Turkish citizens and Turkish shareholders must have the majority of votes according to the articles of association of the company.
Although, foreigners are not permitted to set up a ground handling company, foreign air carriers are entitled to provide certain ground handling services they need by themselves without any license required. To be more specific, foreign air carriers operating scheduled flights are authorized to perform, for themselves, all or a part of representation, supervision and administration, passenger services, load control and communications, aircraft line maintenance, fuel and oil services. Foreign air carriers operating non-scheduled flights are only authorized to perform, for themselves, all or a part of aircraft line maintenance, fuel and oil services.
In addition, local air carriers are also authorized to perform all or a part of the airport ground handling service types of representation, passenger services, load control and communications, ramp, cargo and mail, aircraft cleaning, unit load device control, aircraft line maintenance: aircraft line maintenance, fuel and oil, flight operations, transport, catering services, supervision and administration, aircraft private security service and audit for themselves by getting required Working License.
In case a ground handling company or an air carrier, which has a Working License Group A, becomes unable to provide services due to unavoidable force majeure to be found acceptable by Directorate General of State Airports Administration (DHMI), then the local air carrier having a Working License Group B, which is authorized to perform all or a part of the ground handling service types for themselves, can be authorized by the Ministry of Transport upon the proposal of the DHMI to render all or a part of the services, which they are allowed to perform for themselves, to other air carriers as well, until the related situation is eliminated.
In the context of ground handling regulations, there are some special authorizations stipulated for national and international air carriers and DHMI. The service of passenger transport on apron is performed by ground handling companies and local air carriers. DHMI is authorized to arrange this service and to determine which companies will perform this service at which airports and for what period of time. Services, which are demanded by foreign air carriers and which cannot be performed by ground handling companies and local air carriers, can be performed by other foreign air carriers that have a working license. Permission must be obtained from DHMI to exercise such authority. In case there is not a ground handling company to perform the ground, handling services demanded by air carriers at airports where they operate their flights or if the ground handling company is unable to perform any of the demanded service types, then local air carriers are authorized to perform the services for air carriers.
Follow-me service is obligatory for international flights and optional for domestic flights at Ataturk Airport. The follow-me service is provided by DHMI for all air carriers other than local air carriers at Ataturk Airport. Provision of passenger loading bridge at airports and the systems providing 400 Hz energy to aircraft at the bridge are performed or ensured to be performed only by DHMI. In necessary cases, the service can be obtained from ground handling companies.
Although, it is required for local air carriers to obtain a Working License to provide ground handling services for themselves or for other air carriers under certain circumstances, foreign air carriers have some exceptions in that matter. In other words, foreign air carriers performing ground handling services, which are stated above, for them can provide the ground handling services defined in their licenses also for their non-scheduled flights at the same airport operated under the name of the same company without any additional permit required.