KOCHI: Celebi Ground Handling, Turkey's first privately-owned ground handling services company, which recently completed one year of operations at the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), has announced an expansion in Nedumbassery airport, which would see an increase of its staff strength by 20 per cent from the current 700 people.
Celebi handles three flights of Air Asia per day and 43 daily flights of Indigo at CIAL. The multinational company, which employs 7,000 people in India, made its foray to south India through the Cochin Airport. "Within a year we entered CIAL, we have expanded to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kannur. Kochi has become our gateway into south India," Tauseef Khan, COO-India, Celebi Airport Services India, told Express. The expansion would see Celebi hiring another 140 people soon.
"In one year, we have grown by 100 per cent. We now handle 50 flights a day at CIAL," he said. Out of the 700 people that the Turkish ground handling major employs in Kerala, about 600 are blue-collar jobs. "Our employees enjoy a whole lot of facilities, including ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation), pension and provident fund, and we also offer salaries on par or higher than the central minimum wages," said Khan.
At Kannur, two ground handling agents are selected viz., Air India and Celebi. As jobs in West Asia become scarce, the expansion by multinational companies like Celebi in Kerala offers similar job opportunities back home. In the unorganised sector, there is no job assurance. What companies like us bring is stability, besides opening up a window for more investments. "A tourist or a visitor coming out of the airport gets the first experience from the ground handling staff. So, you can say its the first step towards Kerala's hospitality industry," Khan explained.
Celebi, which has diversified operations including warehouse operation, terminal building construction and management, entered India by offering ground handling services in Mumbai in 2009 and in Delhi in 2010.
Commenting on Kerala's notorious work culture, the Celebi COO said the workers in the state are very educated, understanding and hard working. However, some people are trying to create an unnecessary rift between the employees and the management, by planting wrong information about the management.
"We have brought a new culture in ground handling; providing workers with the latest equipment and our safety standards are best in class," said Khan.