Aviation Ground Handlers laud FG for approving new Safety Threshold Handling rates
By Yunus Yusuf
TheAviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN) has lauded the Federal Government for approving the new Safety Threshold Ground Handling Rates for the ground handling companies operating in the country.
The association’s Chairman, Mr Olaniyi Adigun, gave the commendation with aviation correspondents in Lagos on Monday.
Adigun noted that the new rates which was approved by the Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, was 35 years after the last amendment to the handing rates by handlers were done in 1986.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had approved between $1,500 and $5,000 (passenger and cargo flights) for handlers for a narrow and wide body aircraft, respectively.
Capt. Musa Nuhu, the NCAA Director General, had in a circular issued on Sept. 6 with the reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/315, explained that domestic operators would now pay between N20,000 and N70,000, depending on the aircraft type.
Nuhu added that narrow body aircraft include Boeing B737, Airbus A320, ER 135 and ATR, while wide body aircraft are B767, A330, B777, B747 and B787.
He said: “All stakeholders are invited to note that the new ground handling rates for international and domestic operations will become effective on Oct. 1, and Jan. 1, 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 NCAA. Please be guided accordingly.”
Adigun said with this approval, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), Precision Aviation Handling Company (PAHCOL) and Swissport Handling Company, would now charge the same rates as their counterparts in the sub-African countries.
“We want to appreciate the minister of aviation 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 handers.
“However, with the right pricing in handling rates, we will be able to provide quality, efficient and safe service delivery to our clients. We will be able to compete with any service provider gradually.
“We will be able to acquire modern equipment that can facilitate handling. To me, it is a new dawn and a new development that will inject more lives into the industry.
“This is because if the industry is booming, more foreign investments will be encouraged to come in and participate. The more we have investors, the more capital we have for the country.
“So, it’s a win-win situation in terms of having quality service delivery; to the government, it will be able to derive more revenues from the sector,” he said.
Adigun said before the new regime, an operation that cost $4,000 in some SubAfrica, they were still charging at $400, adding that at $4,000, the government’s five per cent was about $200 and that is what Ghanaian government gets for instance.
He added that however, this was what the Nigerian Government was getting just $20, adding that looking at the disparity, that was a lot of capital flight out of the country.
Adigun noted that with the old regime, government was losing money, the service provider was losing money and with this, they could not attract quality staff, carry out efficient training, however, right now, they were on the right track.
He said the association would come out with an MoU which would stipulated disciplinary measures for violators of the directive.
Also, the Vice Chairman, AGHAN, Mr Ahmed Bashir, thanked the federal government for reviewing the current safety threshold handling rates and ensuring compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organiusation (ICAO) Safety and other international bodies.
Bashir noted that NCAA had always been there for the interest of the flying public, operators and ground handling companies in the sector, adding that the agency had effective leadership, led by Capt. Musa Nuhu, its Director-General.
The AGHAN vice chairman noted that the minister vision had always been a safer sky for the country and to ensure that safety, the ground handlers were integral part of that vision.
“Everything that you see that we have achieved, we give credit to the minister because the minister has acted as a father to all. It is through his vision that we achieved stability in the industry.
“The hold rates have been on since 1986, which is about 35 years ago and it has remained static ever since. You can imagine that. And for the minister to have supported our course.
“This shows he loves the industry and he has been able to save the sector from collapse and history will never forget him as someone who has initiated sustainability and financial health of the sub-sector,” he said.
Bashir said the impact if this new threshold handing rates would be able to sustain the industry, ensure stability and financial stability for the handlers.
NCAA intervention and economic regulation
NCAA has always been there for the interest of the flying public, operators and ground handling companies in the sector. I can say that the agency has effective leadership, led by Capt. Musa Nuhu, its Director-General. The authority wants a stable and an economically viable industry for the industry. NCAA knows that when we are financially stronger, we will be able to sustain the industry, ensure safety and security of the industry. NCAA knows that every part of our business is capital intensive. And as we all know, safety starts and end on ground. You have little or no control actually when the aircraft is in the air.
So, in order to ensure that the ground handlers are financially stronger and remain as a critical component of the industry, NCAA tried to ensure that the industry doesn’t collapse. The fact is that without the ground handlers, NCAA will also be out of business.
We will like to thank NCAA for their leadership, which supported and encouraged and supported us. Their leadership actually ensured that economic regulation is about the ground handling companies. So, we have to be financially stronger to be able to recruit and retain quality manpower. The sub-sector is about the manpower and equipment.
You cannot buy modern equipment if you are financially weak, you cannot attract and retain quality manpower if you are economically weak. So, the economic regulation is to ensure that we have a healthy and a vibrant industry. Kudos to the leadership of NCAA.
The Minister of Aviation’s vision has always been a safer sky for Nigeria and to ensure that safety, the ground handlers are integral part of that vision. Everything that you see that we have achieved, we give credit to the minister because the minister has acted as a father to all. It is through his vision that we achieved stability in the industry. He has brought in innovative ideas that helped to transform the industry.
The hold rates have been on since 1986, which is about 35 years ago and it has remained static ever since. You can imagine that. And for the minister to have supported our course, it shows he loves the industry and he has been able to save the sector from collapse and history will never forget him as someone who has initiated sustainability and financial health of the sub-sector.
Effective of the new threshold handling rates on Nigeria economy
The impact is that it will be able to sustain the industry, ensure stability and financial stability for the handlers. We will be able to recruit more Nigerians and increase the welfare of our staff. It will also ensure that we have better and modern equipment, develop our capacity. We will be able to initiate modern trainings and all these are cost effective. And, some of the training are not even conducted here in Nigeria.
Just as we all know, aviation is internationally regulated and not local. You have to consistently acquire new knowledge and ideas so that our personnel can be able to compete all over the world. All these are tailored towards ensuring safety in the industry.