Turkish group Celebi eyes airport ground handling in India

Posted By: Pti
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Pallab Bhattacharya

Istanbul, Jan 30 (PTI) Betting big on India''s economicgrowth and burgeoning civil aviation sector, leading Turkishservice provider Celebi has lined up an investment of USD 75.2million to ramp up its ground handling and air cargooperations in the country this year.

Talking to a group of visiting Indian journalists atthe company''s office located in the "European" part of thiscommercial capital of Turkey, Celebi Holdings Chairman CanCelebioglu was clearly fascinated with the Indian economy''sgrowth saga and its open society.

During the more than hour-long interaction, Can madeit clear that these are the two main reasons which haveprompted Turkey''s biggest airport ground-handling serviceprovider to choose India as its future investment and businessdestination in preference over a bigger economy like China.

Asked why Celebi has chosen India for its operationsand not a bigger economy like China, the company''s chairmansaid communication in China is a problem as "Chinese arecommunicate more with themselves and are closed" while "Indiais more open and it is easier to communicate with them".

"We feel closer to India than China", he said.

Celebi at present has ground-handling and cargobusiness at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport inMumbai and undertakes just cargo handling in Delhi''s IndiraGandhi International Airport.

Senior Celebi officials make it clear that economy ofoperational scale in ground-handling and air cargo marketswill be the key to the company''s future growth in India as itwill be a volume-driven business.

Ground-handling covers virtually the entire range ofactivities relating to an aircraft the moment it touches downat or takes off from an airport like passenger and baggagehandling, check-in and boarding, cleaning of planes, aircraftsecurity, handling of warehousing of cargo and providing rampservices.

Atilla Korkmazoglu, President of Celebi Holding''sflagship company dealing with ground handling in the Far East,said the company is ready with the latest electronic aviationequipment to handle the giant super luxury A 380 aircraftwhich German carrier Lufthansa plans to start next year inIndia if Indian airports are ready to receive the planes.

"Since we have the equipment, we will have acompetitive advantage in ground handling of an aircraft like A380," said he.

Atilla said Celebi is ready with USD 17 millioninvestment to strengthen its ground-handling operations atMumbai and USD 13.2 million in Delhi this year as the twobusiest airports in India cope with more passenger traffic.

The company is also going to hire one thousand peopleat the two metros to meet its expanded operations, accordingto Atilla. At present, Celebi has 1955 personnel in Mumbai and327 in Delhi.

"We are working hard to expand our ground-handlingservices in airports in Delhi and Mumbai and are also lookingat entering the other big airports in India, particularlyHyderabad and Bangalore," he said.

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