The provision of groundhandling services at airports of general interest requires prior authorisation. This authorisation is a legal requirement developed by Royal Decree 1161/1999, by which Directive 96/67/EC was transposed into law. The conditions for obtaining it are set out in Articles 9 and 10 of Royal Decree 1161/1999.

    Groundhandling services are those described in the Annex to Royal Decree 1161/1999, provided to airport users, understood as “any natural or legal person carrying passengers, mail or cargo by air to or from that airport” according to Article 1 of the Royal Decree. These services can be provided in two ways:

    • As self-handling on land: ‘a situation in which a user directly provides one or more categories of assistance services to himself, without concluding with a third party any contract, whatever its name, the object of which is the provision of such services’.
      Self-handling authorisations on land are reserved for users. A natural or legal person who does not carry passengers, mail or cargo by air, does not have the status of user and therefore does not meet the requirements for obtaining authorisation in the mode of ground self-handling.
    • As a supplier of groundhandling services: ‘any natural or legal person providing one or more categories of groundhandling services to third parties’.

    Services which are not provided to users as defined above do not require authorisation under Royal Decree 1161/1999, however, in order to carry out their activity, they must comply with Article 4.4(2), managing their access to the airport directly with the airport manager.

    It should be borne in mind that obtaining such authorisation is not sufficient to begin the provision of groundhandling services, but, as Royal Decree 1161/1999 states in Article 8(1), a contract with the airport operator must be concluded in advance.

    For any questions about these questions, you can contact AESA via the following email address:

Application for authorisation

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