Applicability of Shops and Establishments Acts to the shops within the airport premises depends upon the law of the state. If it is not mentioned specifically, shops within airport premises need to comply with the Shops and Establishments Act of the concerned state. Basically, no Shops and Establishments Act has made any rule that this piece of legislation is not applicable to the shops inside the Airport. However, the State Government may grant some exemptions to the shops and commercial establishments operating inside the airport of the state. For example- Delhi Shops and Establishments Act exempts the stalls and refreshment room inside airport from Section 15 and 16 vide notification N.O. 20(29)/61-Labour dated 12th Nov, 1965. Section 15 deals with opening and closing hours for Shops and Establishments and Section 16 deals with the weekly close day.
Apart from Delhi, Maharashtra has also granted exemption from Section 19,20 and 23 to the stall and refreshment room in the airport. It is mentioned in Schedule II of the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act 1948. Section 19 deals with opening and closing hours of restaurants and eating houses. Section 20 restricts Restaurants and eating houses not to sell goods of the kind sold in shops before the opening and after the closing hours of shops. Section 23 deals with the spread over time.
To install a shop or establishment inside the airport, one has to obtain a licence from the Airport Authority of India (AAI). AAI, in its guidelines has stated that the licensee, his agents and servants shall comply with all rules and regulations of the Shop and Establishment Act of the state, Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Minimum Wages Act and other provisions of any statutory law including any rules and regulations made by the Authority, Civil Aviation Department or any other Department of Government or local body or administration.
So, until and unless specifically not exempted, the Shops and Establishments Acts are applicable to all shops and commercial establishments irrespective of its place of business. If the legislature/administration/judiciary has not mentioned its non-applicability to shops inside the airport, it is rightful to consider that the said Act is applicable to all shops and establishments whether it is located in village or city, or inside a shopping mall, or inside an airport.