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Press Releases
16 February 2022

New Ground Handling Agreement Template to facilitate a safe and efficient aviation ecosystem

ACI World and the Air Services Association build on Memorandum of Cooperation

Montreal, 16 February 2022 – Airports Council International (ACI) World, in collaboration with Airport Services Association (ASA), have released a new Ground Handling Service Provider (GHSP) and Airport Operator Agreement Template to facilitate and promote a safe and efficient aviation ecosystem.

The Agreement Template is a crucial guidance document to improve collaboration between airport operators and GHSPs, by helping to formalize the relationships between the organizations as well as to harmonize requirements and standards for operating at an airport and around an aircraft.

The guidance document can also help overcome some of the additional safety challenges brought on by the social and economic impact of the pandemic, namely the capacity to offer services according to defined service levels.

Together, through improved operational harmonization and human performance, the Agreement Template has the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of the aviation ecosystem for the benefit of current and future consumers.

The Agreement Template is the fruit of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between ACI and ASA that will continue to see a close working relationship for the benefit of their respective membership and the aviation industry overall. The MoC’s primary objective is to improve the overall level of safety and efficiency of ground handling activities within the ecosystem while also prioritizing the overall sustainability of aviation.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliviera said: “The ACI-ASA Ground Handling Service Provider and Airport Operator Agreement Template is essential to iron out the much-needed harmonization of operational requirements for ground handlers working at the airport environment, essential for a safe and efficient aviation ecosystem and ensuring closer collaboration between airports and GHSPs. Aviation is a symbiotic relationship where each stakeholder must rely on the other.  

“While the template is an important development—one of many to come between ACI and ASA—collaboration is needed across the entire aviation system, including governments and global regulators. In this regard, ACI applauds the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in working to develop a regulatory framework or other form of national oversight.

“In addition, all parties must continue to identify and leverage innovation and technological developments to move towards more automation, improvements in performance and the use of more sustainable and energy-efficient equipment. These technologies will also reduce costs and increase efficiency over time.”

ASA Director General Fabio Gamba added: “There couldn’t be a better moment for us to seal and implement this MoC by offering our respective membership, airports and GHSPs, a guidance template that sheds all the necessary light on how a harmonized and sustainable working relationship between the two should be established. We are glad to offer this document to the community and look forward to jointly achieving other similar milestones.”

The Agreement Template is based on ACI and ASA best practices and aims to support the ACI Ground Handling Policy Paper which states that “Airport operators should require each Ground Handling Service Provider to sign a license or concession agreement in order for it to operate on the airport.” The template is a flexible document that can be tailored to fit local contexts, laws, regulations, customs, and practices, as well as the specific needs established when negotiating the agreement.

ACI will hold a webinar series with ASA on the topic. The first will be held on 31 March 2022 and will focus on the technical content of the Agreement Template as well as some of the challenges and opportunities in the domain of ground handling. The second webinar in May will focus on the importance of GHSPs as an integral part of the entire aviation ecosystem as well as the ongoing social and economic sustainability issues surrounding ground handling.

Notes for editors

  1. Access the ACI-ASA Ground Handling Service Provider and Airport Operator Agreement (GHSP) Template.
  2. Access the ACI Ground Handling Policy Paper.
  3. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2022, ACI serves 717 members, operating 1950 airports in 185 countries.
  4. Airport Services Association (ASA) is the international trade body of the independent ground and air cargo handling providers. It represents worldwide companies that are an essential cog in the seamless journey of millions of passengers and freight. These companies are the hidden champions of the sky on the ground. Everything they do, below and above the wing – from check-in and boarding to aircraft fuelling, towing and de-icing makes air travel possible! No plane can take off without them. Together with its affiliate associations, regionally and globally, ASA works on advancing the sector’s interests for the sake of an ever more connected and safe air transport.

Media contacts

Adam Zampini
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254

Federica Paolucci
Airport Services Association
Telephone: + 49 (0) 162 293 2726