While no one handler can currently serve Star at all of its destinations (815 at last count), one or two of the larger ones could possibly manage the top 100 Star locations. Similarly a major airline might shun the idea of buying ground handling at 100 stations worldwide from a single handler, but would be interested in buying a single handling contract in a specific country, or a region such as Scandinavia.
"All handlers are trying to work out the way forward, and I don’t think the die has yet been cast," says Smith.
Back at Finnair and oneworld, Jukka Rahko’s only hope is that the process is properly thought through. "Centralized purchasing is something all alliances are probably planning and even doing to some extent already today," he says, "but I do feel that ground handling is a rather specific area where you need good expertise in the subject.
"For this reason, I trust that it will be left in the hands of a group of experts from each company in the future. In our case, the results have already shown that this works well, provided the process is carefully planned and prepared. Then it is only a question of reporting to the purchasing management organization within the alliance."
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