The COVID-19 unleashed headwinds which have deeply impacted the airline and hospitality sector, now pose a major risk to the job security of over 2 lakh workforce employed with the country's private airport operators.
Accordingly, the Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has urged the Centre to come out with an economic relief package not only to stop downsizing but also to maintain the key infrastructure assets that the sector maintains.
At present, approximately 2,40,000 people employed on airport sites, including airport operators'' employees jobs are at stake.
The downsizing impact will be felt across the country as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are some of the major airports which are handled by private entities.
Currently, no foreign or domestic passenger flight operations are allowed till the deadline of 14 April. Only cargo operations are taking place there by hitting the bottom lines of these companies.
Not only is the income low but these entities are also in stress for paying up a huge chunk of the revenue to the government under the various management deals of respective airports.
"We have approached the government requesting to immediately provide certain relief measures for the private airport operators, which will directly alleviate the financial burden for airports due to the COVID-19 outbreak," Satyan Nayar, Secretary General, Association of Private Airport Operators told IANS.
"In the absence of any relief measures it is just a matter of days and not months that the operators might go in for a massive downturn to contain costs. This sector won't be able to sustain the manpower, it does right now."
According to Nayar, the industry has sought deferment of taxes and other statutory dues, and one time waiver of revenue share being paid to state run partner entities (AAI).
"Plus as an infrastructure provider we need urgent lending lifelines to maintain and keep ready these critical facilities," he said.
"India's air traffic in 2020 might plunge heavily. This will cause defaults on our side as well as airlines and other related sectors such as hospitality and tourism. It is vital that the government quickly moves to institute relief measures," he added.
(With inputs from IANS)
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