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NCAA, Ground handlers, join collaborate on minimum handling rates

Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN) has offered to work with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to set up minimum safety threshold handling rates for the sub-sector. Olaniyi Adigun, President, AGHAN, in his presentation: ‘Ground Handling In Nigeria: Management, Policy & Regulation,’ regretted that the formations of the two leading ground handling companies in the country, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) plc was not for profit making by their founding fathers, a situation, which he said had negatively affected the sub-sector after privatisation.

He, however, opined that to change the narration, 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 that any rates below the established safety threshold ground handling rates has the tendency to jeopardise safety and security and loss of revenue to the federal government through the 5 per cent concessionary fees pay by the handling companies to the government.

“To achieve the aims enumerated above, it is our strong believe that if both the Federal Government (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. It 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).

Adigun appealed to the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the NCAR presently before it, marinating 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.

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. Ground handling rates in Nigeria remain the lowest in the entire African countries.

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 those countries charge between $4,450 and $5,250 per flight.

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