Concerned by the ridiculous rate offered to airlines by the two major ground handling companies in Nigeria, the Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN) has called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to establish regulations and policies that will make room for a new handling rate in the aviation industry.
In view of this, President of AGHAN, Mr. Olaniyi Adigun, in his presentation at the recent League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), entitled ‘Ground Handling In Nigeria: Management, Policy & Regulation,’ said the association had offered to work with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to set up minimum safety threshold handling rates for the sub-sector.
Appalling is that the ground handling service charge in Nigeria was yet to be reviewed over the years as the companies; Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) still charge the 1979 rate.
Recent reports claimed that the handling fees by ground handling companies in Nigeria remained the lowest on the continent and oscillate between $1,000 and $400 for narrow body aircraft, while a handling of a wide body aircraft goes as low as $3,000 for passenger flight.
Adigun regretted that the formations of the two leading ground handling companies in the country, SAHCO Plc and NAHCO Plc was not for profit making by their founding fathers, a situation, which he said had negatively affected the sub-sector after privatisation.
Considering the necessity to change the narrative, he opined that it was imperative for the industry regulator, NCAA to put necessary regulations and policies in place, which would usher in new handling rates for the sub-sector.
According to him, AGHAN was willing to work with the NCAA to set up operating standards, safety and security standards, establish minimum safety threshold handling rates within the sector, encourage an enabling environment to attract capital inflow into the sector through local and foreign investors and encourage healthy competition among the players without compromising safety, security and the economic interest of the nation.
He said: ”Any rate below the established safety threshold ground handling rates has the tendency to jeopardise safety and security and cause a loss of revenue to the federal government through the five per cent (5%) concessionary fees paid by the handling companies to the government.
“To achieve the aims enumerated above, it is our strong belief that if both the federal government through the NCAA and the various stakeholders come together to put necessary regulations and policies including setting up of a minimum safety threshold handling rates in place, the ground handling sector will experience a rebirth.
“This will increase government revenue and create stability in terms of safety and security within the sector and the industry at large. This can effectively work out if the extant Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR) Act is amended to further empower NCAA to properly regulate the industry like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Besides, he appealed to the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the NCAR presently before it, noting that this would further improve the Nigerian aviation industry and bring it at par with its counterparts in developed nations.
“An improved aviation industry is a plus to the ground handling sub-sector,” he said.
Ground handling rates in Nigeria remain the lowest in the entire African countries as reports said that ground handling charges in Guinea, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Ghana for narrow body and wide body aircraft are way ahead of Nigeria.
For instance in Guinea, foreign airlines are charged $1,673 (narrow body); $4,715 (wide body), Senegal; $2,250 and $5,259, Cameroon; $1,400 and $4,500, Sierra Leone; $2,250 and $5,250 and Ghana with $1,500 and $4,150 for passenger flight.
Cargo flight attracts $2,300, $1,750, $2,300, and $2,500 in Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, respectively for narrow body aircraft, while for wide body aircraft, the ground handling in these countries charge between $4,450 and $5,250 per flight.