New Charges: Aviation Ground Handlers Ink Deal To Avert Sabotage

Chief Executives of five ground handling companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to guard against economic sabotage amongst its ranks

The joint communiqué was signed by Olumuyiwa Olumekun; the Ag. CEO, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc; Mr. Basil Agboarumi, CEO, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc, Mr. Samuel Oluwole, Director Aviation Handling Service (AHS), Alhaji Bello Salihu; CEO, Butake Resources Ltd (BRL) and Mr. John Adebanjo, the CEO, Swissport Nigeria, dated December 14, 2021, to the domestic and foreign airlines.

The communiqué, according to the signatories, would enable sustainable and profitable ground handling rates, while also maintaining the highest standards of safety operations in the sector in Nigeria.

Speaking on the development, Mr. Samuel Oluwole, Chairman, Precision Handling Company, said the handling companies have to hold themselves accountable because the current misnomer affects them all”.

 

Managing Director of SAHCOL, Mr. Basil Agboarumi

He said: ”We are going to have a technical committee in place that will be like an inspectorate that will be able to monitor the handling companies in the country and severe fine will be meted out by the disciplinary committee on the resolution and any infringement. This will be done after due notification to the NCAA. This will be in place in the interest of everybody.

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“The fact is that the system we have set up is in the interest of all to survive. The undercutting of over 30 years is not leading us anywhere.”

Also speaking, Alhaji Bello Salihu, CEO, Butake Handling Company, commended moves by AGHAN for the current price regime to be an equally tinkering way to ensure compliance for all and sundry.

Salihu said the safety threshold was not just about the handling companies, but also about the safety and security of the country stressing that with appropriate charges, safety and security will better be enhanced.

He said: “With this, Nigeria will not continue to lose revenues and the sub-sector will be able to contribute to the growth of the industry. “We are very grateful to the government who understands our position. By raising the handling charges, you are not doing the handling companies any favour, rather, you are asking them to operate efficiently and effectively in accordance with the standard operating procedure that is published by both ICAO and IATA.

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“We are a category one country in terms of safety and security. If handling companies are not operating to the standards, do you think we can retain the Category One status? We cannot.”

 

NAHCo warehouse

 

Chairman, AGHAN, Mr. Olaniyi Adigun, who described the journey as tough, said the first attempt at correcting the price anomaly was abortive because of the resistance of the strong and formidable airlines.

He said: “This (resistance) took us to the National Assembly where all was addressed. A one-way ticket to Abuja now is about N80,000, while we were handling them for between N10,000 and N20,000. Who does that? We needed to increase based on the economic realities on the ground.

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“The association is coming out with a watertight commitment that will stipulate the penalties to any of our members that violates the agreement. And like I said, it will be termed as economic sabotage and the chairmen of these companies are the ones signing this communiqué, which will convey the commitment.”

Vice President, AGHAN, Ahmed Bashir, who spoke in the effective implementation of new charges, said apart from signing the agreement, chairmen of the handling companies will also have to sign the third document that will specify sanctions and legal departments are already working on it to fine-tune the document.

Wole Shadare