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ASA Calls for Urgent Action to Put an End to the Race to the Bottom in Ground Aviation Services

Published on: 07 May 2024

Following an ASA Board Meeting, and whilst attending the IATA Ground Handling Conference (IGHC) in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Aviation Service Providers Association (ASA) calls for an immediate change in the working relationships between airlines, airports, and aviation service providers and for the adoption of global regulatory requirements in the wake of the EASA Opinion released earlier in January.

Fabio Gamba ASA Director General, underlines the critical challenges faced by aviation service providers. "Service providers are the backbone of air operations, yet they continue to grapple with high staff turnover and  unsustainable profit margins. In parallel, demand for staff training and for state-of-the-art and costly new equipment is on the rise," states Gamba. This isn’t new, but the sudden post-pandemic rebound has exacerbated the situation. Unreasonable, and at times even damaging, requirements that are imposed on an already battered ground sector despite the existence of decade-old template agreements, should be definitely banned.

This must quickly come to an end. In this context, the adoption of minimum standards for ground operations becomes ever more central. This is why ASA applauded the bold approach taken by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after the release of its ground handling Opinion earlier this year, trusting that it will act as a first step towards a long-overdue global regulation. In the meantime, ASA will shortly release a document that will lay out what it believes will constitute an ensemble of acceptable standards for the promotion of safe, fair and efficient ground handling operations throughout the world. 

“It won’t only represent the views of the ground handlers though”. Gamba insists airlines and airports alike will be invited to join. “Because eventually what’s bad for the ground handlers is bad for the whole air transport eco-system. It may sound obvious, but promoting a robust supply chain characterized by fair labour practices, and safe and sustainable operations, cannot be a zero-sum game. This document isn’t intended to replace or compete against such industry pillars as the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM), but rather to complement them at a different, higher level.”

It is expected that this “ASA Minimum Operating Standards” document will be presented at the Association’s annual event, the ASA Leadership Forum (ALF) in Istanbul, Türkiye, 29-31 October 2024. 

Press Contact: Mercedes Dieguez – Head of Marketing and Communications Tel: +32 479 79 21 36 Email:

About ASA: The Aviation Services Association (ASA) is a non-profit trade association representing over 70 ground handling, cargo, and other aviation service providers worldwide. For 50 years, ASA has been at the forefront of promoting dialogue, collaboration, and excellence within the aviation services industry. Through advocacy, networking events, and conferences, ASA addresses industry challenges, shares best practices, and advocates for sustainable growth and operational efficiency. 

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