GROUND handling companies under the aegis of Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN) have again stressed that it is imperative for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to put necessary regulations and policies in place, which would usher in new handling price rates for the sub-sector.
Presently, handling fees by ground handling companies in Nigeria remains the lowest on the continent and fluctuate 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.
Reports recently published by NigerianFLIGHTDECK put ground handling charges in countries like Guinea where foreign airlines are charged $1,673 (narrow body); $4,715 (wide body),while in 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.
It is against this sloped narrative that AGHAN has offered to work with the industry regulator to set up minimum safety threshold handling rates for the sub-sector stressing that anything below this should be viewed as inimical to safety operations.
President, AGHAN, Mr. Olaniyi Adigun said the body 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 investment.
He said this would also encourage healthy competition among the players without compromising safety, security and the economic interest of the nation.
He said: ”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. This 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).
Besides, he 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.
Earlier in the week, Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL), Mr. Basil Agboarumi alluded to pricing of handling companies as one of the sub-sectors challenges to the Senate Committee on Privatization.