Standard Ground Handling Agreements (SGHA)

Career — By on April 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

Nicy Elizabeth Francis

Ground operation at the station level, encompasses a number of administrative and operational functions related to the servicing of a parked aircraft on arrival andits preparation for departure.It may be self-contained withinthe airline or outsourcedto Ground Service Provider(GSPs), depending on theagreement between the partiesand that is mainly knownas Standard Ground HandlingAgreement.

The Standard IATA procedureswere designed for tworeasons:-

�To specify all functions ofthe handling services required.

�To standardize the formatof the ground handling agreement.

What constitutes “Standard”?The word “standard” in thetitle SGHA means that theagreement cannot be modified.

“A Ground Handling Agreementis a standard groundhandling agreement when,and only when , the wordingof its Main Agreement & itsAnnex A corresponds, withoutany alteration whatsoever,to the text published inAHM 810( Airport Handling Manual)”.The SGHA is made up of 3parts:-

(1)The Main Agreement

(2)Annex A

(3)Annex B

While the Main Agreement &Annex A are standard andcannot be altered, the thirdcomponent of the SGHA,Annex B, can be amendedand adapted to suit theneeds of all parties .

Any difference from thestandard text agrees to betweenthe parties are to berecorded in Annex B formattedin accordance with this procedures.

The IATA Standard GroundHandling Agreement can beused as a Bilateral Agreementor a Reciprocal Agreementby the “the carrier” or“the handling company.

I. The Main Agreement

The Main Agreement is oneof three parts of the StandardGround Handling Agreement.The Main Agreement ofthe SGHA is a “standard”document, emphasizingmore on legal & administrativerules for the agreement,comprising 11 articles.

�Provision of services

�Fair practices

�Subcontracting of services

�Carrier’s representation

�Standard of work


�Accounting & settlement

�Liability & indemnity


�Stamp duties, registrationfees

�Duration. Modification &termination

II.Annex A

Annex A is like a menu of allthe available services whichmust be performed to makehandling complete. It is a fullcatalogue of every servicewhich could possibly be demandedof a handling companyby an airline.

The first part of Annex A is aglossary containing definitionsof the terms used in thedocument to eliminate or reduce, the possibility of ambiguous interpretations.

Annex A is split into eight sections,which are divided intosub-sections :-

�Representation, Administration& supervision

�Passenger services

�Ramp services

�Loadcontrol, communications& flight operations

�Cargo & mail services

�Support services


�Aircraft maintenance

Out of the eight sections,“Representation, Administration& supervision” permitsan airline to hire an handlingagent to act as its stationmanager in a given location.The “Passenger Services”includes the arrival & departureservice at airport :

(a) Check travel documentsfor the flight concerned

(b) Enter required passengerand/or travel documentinformation into carriers and/or government system.

The “Security services”throughout the handling atairport.

III. Annex B

The third & last componentof the StandardGround Handling Agreement,Annex B, is differentfrom the Main Agreement &Annex A and can be modifiedaccording to the local requirements..

Annex B is often consideredto be the ‘real agreement’, asit is the actual contract ofagreement relating toground handling. It describesin details exactlywhich services are to be renderedby the handling companyat a particularlocation(s).

In addition to thestandard header lines, AnnexB will also indicate the processof amendments,modifications and alterations.It is prepared with paragraphsand sub-paragraphsto avoid any ambiguityand allows full flexibility torecord all the details of theagreement to the satisfactionof both parties

Annex B mainly contains theHandling Services & Charges,which includes the basicand special handling charges.

�Basic Handling Charges iscomposed of

�Passenger services

�Ramp services

�cargo & mail services

�flight operation services

�Special Handling Chargesis composed of

�technical landing

�ferry flights

The Simplified Procedure

The simplified procedure replacesthe various “MainAgreement” & Annex A createdby numerous parts of partiesall over the world with aunique master set of “MainAgreement” & “Annex A”.The unique master set isentitled AHM810 & is publishedin the IATA Airport HandlingManual. Users need nolonger to prepare a MainAgreement & Annex A. All theyhave to do is to create AnnexB in the traditional manner &have to include standardworking ( known as a preamble) indicating that theseAnnex B are governed by theprovisions of the SGHA publishedby the IATA.

The Preamble is to makesure that the Annex B is preparedduly in accordance andconformity with the MainAgreement & Annex A of theSGHA of the current year aspublished by the International Air Transport Association

The use of the simplified procedureis neither compulsorynor mandatory. Rather, itis a suggested alternative. Itis available for all users whowish to reduce the hugeamount of paper associatedwith the more traditional approachto the SGHA.

Advantages associated withthe simplified procedure:

1. Time & effort are saved, asa result of the elimination oflocally created & held ‘umbrella’document.

2. Both parties will save moneybecause of the reductionin typing, paper, mailing fees& file space needed to accommodatethe simplifiedprocedure.

3. The integrity (i.e.: honesty& entirety) of the documentis guaranteed.

4. The document is instantlyavailable

5. Tampering & potential errorsare eliminated.

The Main Agreement & AnnexA are signed by top managementonce in every five year,on average whereas, AnnexB changes more frequentand are handled and signedby the middle management.Regardless of which agreementis used, the full form orthe simplified procedure, it isextremely important for eachairline to maintain a centralinventory which will detail thestatus of all of its currentagreements. Such an inventoryis extremely useful inalerting the airline to thedates when annexes mustbe renewed & updated.

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