Transport

Nigerian government approves new charges for ground handling companies

The federal government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has approved new safety threshold charges for services rendered by the ground handling companies, commencing from October 1, 2021, for international carriers and January 1, 2022, for domestic operators.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN), Olaniyi Adigun, who stated that the approval of new charges was coming 35 years after the last amendment to the handing rates by handlers, carried out in 1986.

The association noted that with this approval, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO), the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO), Precision Aviation Handling Company (PAHCOL) and Swissport Handling Company could now charge the same handling rates as their counterparts in the sub-African countries.

Adigun disclosed that the NCAA approved between $1,500 and $5,000 (passenger and cargo flights) for handlers for narrow and wide-body aircraft, respectively, while domestic operators would now pay between N25, 000 and N70, 000, depending on the aircraft type.

Narrow-body aircraft include Boeing B737, Airbus A320, ER 135 and ATR, while wide-body aircraft are B767, A330, B777, B747 and B787.

THISDAY learnt that another circular signed by NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, dated September 6, 2021, with reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/315, addressed to all Airlines And Ground Handling Companies (foreign and local), drew the attention of Accountable Managers/Country Managers of both domestic and international operators.

The circular read in part: “All stakeholders are invited to note that the new ground handling rates for international and domestic operations will become effective on 1st October 2021 and 1st January 2022, respectively.

“All stakeholders are directed to ensure full compliance with the safety threshold ground handling charges. Any change to these charges must be done in formal consultation with and approval of the NCAA. Please be guided accordingly.”

Reacting to this new development, Adigun said: “We want to appreciate the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for having the foresight to come to the rescue of the ground handling companies.

“In fact, the federal government saved us from extinction because the low pricing was gradually killing the ground-handling sub-sector.

“Income derived from our operations could not sustain us vis-à-vis the current reality on the ground. Dollars have gone up and this equipment is foreign; 80 per cent of our training is foreign and to cap it all, the aviation industry is global.

“Low control is global anywhere in the world; the same training and requirements for Africa and anywhere in the world. Most of what we do require dollars and for you to even operate in this sector, you must be certificated, which can only be achieved through training.”

Also, the Vice Chairman of AGHAIN, Mr Ahmed Bashir, thanked the managements of the ground handling companies, “who supported and trusted us to be able to go this far. Also, we want to laud the various critical stakeholders and professionals in the industry who actually craved for these safety threshold handling charges.

“For every project, you want to embark upon, you need to get the strategy right.”

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