By Lawani Mikairu

Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria, AGHAN, has commended the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA , Captain Musa Nuhu for finally approving and regulating competitive ground handling charges for Nigeria operators in the sector.

Making the commendations in Lagos, the Chairman of AGHAN, Mr. Olaniyi Adigun, said the new charges is coming at a time handlers were almost going out of business due to the current foreign exchange rates.

Adigun said: “We want to appreciate the Honourable 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 handling sub-sector.”

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Income derived from our operations could not sustain us vis-à-vis the current reality on ground. Dollars have gone up and these equipment are foreign; 80 per cent of our training is foreign and to cap it all, 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 speaking on the new charges, Mr. Ahmed Bashir, the Vice Chairman of AGHAN commended the Director General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu for rising to the occasion and making Nigeria ground handling charges to be at par with what is charged in other West Africa countries.

According to Bashir: ” 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.”

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Recall the Federal Government through the NCAA has approved new Safety Threshold Ground Handling Charges for the ground handling companies, commencing from October 1, 2021 for international carriers and January 1, 2022 for domestic operators.

This is coming after 35yrs of the last amendment to the handing rates by handlers. The last amended rates were in 1986. With this approval, NAHCO SAHCO, PAHCOL and Swissport Handling Company, can now charge the same handling rates as their counterparts in the sub-African countries.

NCAA has now approved between $1,500 and $5,000 (passenger and cargo flights) for handlers for a narrow and wide body aircraft, respectively. While domestic operators will 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.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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