Changi Airport Group (CAG) is issuing a tender for a third ground handler to operate at Singapore's Changi Airport, a move that comes eight months after ground handler Swissport returned its license for financial reasons.

"CAG is always keen to provide our airline customers with more choice of suppliers and this tender is consistent with that approach," it says.

"We are keen to support the entry of a new ground handler at Changi" in an effort to "enhance Changi Airport's competitiveness and provide airlines with greater choice," it says.

The first stage of the tender closes on 16 December, after which are short-list will be drawn up and then a winner will be chosen, says CAG.

The contract will be for five years and the winner is expected to commence operations by mid-2010, it adds.

CAG says it is doing the tender now because the aviation industry is recovering and ground handlers - especially those with experience servicing low-cost carriers, have shown interest.

Singapore Airport Terminal Services and Changi International Airport Services are the incumbents.

Swissport was operating out of the airport but returned its license at the end of March saying its operation there "was not of a sufficient size to ensure its sound profitability".

It had a handful of airline customers such as AirAsia, Swiss and Tiger Airways.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news