NIGERIAN Aviation Handling Company Plc, NAHCO Plc, at the weekend, held a Stakeholder dinner commemorating the resumption of Ethiopian Airlines to Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA) Enugu on October 9, 2021.
The flight resumption was heralded with fanfare and fulfillment of expectation after her over two years absence from the station.
NAHCO Plc, the airline’s ground handling provider utilized the opportunity provided by the epoch-making event to engage her major stakeholders in the station as well as drum up support from Cargo Agents for improved cargo volumes in the station.
The event drew attendance from major key stakeholders in the aviation and cargo business facilitation chain, including the Enugu State Government, Cargo Agents, and other members of the Organized Private Sector (OPS).
In his welcome remark, NAHCO Plc’s Group Executive Director, Business Development and Commercial, Prince Saheed Lasisi, thanked guests for responding to the Company’s invitation even at a very short notice. He stated that the event was unique as it marked the fulfillment of NAHCO’s earlier promise to major cargo stakeholders in Enugu that the Company will work to bring back the airline to the station and all factors mitigating full patronage from agents will be eliminated.
He said further that through strategic engagement, freight rates for Lagos and Enugu have been equalized as an incentive for agents within Enugu and environs to patronize the airport for their cargo operations.
He therefore challenged cargo agents to reciprocate this gesture by re-routing their cargo operations through the AIIA for optimal utilization of the frequencies the airline has earmarked for the station.
Responding, the Ethiopian Airlines Station Manager, Mr. Henok Sirak thanked NAHCO for hosting the event to mark the Airline’s return to Enugu and for a productive business partnership. He stated that the Management of Ethiopian Airlines has approved a weekly three flight frequency for the station. He pleaded that necessary effort be made to ensure good load for the station’s flights.
The Enugu Airport Manager, Mrs. Cecilia Ogwuama thanked Ethiopian Airlines for her decision to return to the airport as well as NAHCO’s efforts towards achieving this feat. She stated that the return will enhance operations and business activities at the airport. As a means of supporting the operations, she informed guests that her office has commenced discussion with FAAN Headquarters and received assurance that a cargo screening machine will be deployed to the airport before the end of October 2021.
The representative of the Enugu State Government Dr. Godwin Anigbo (Permanent Secretary Enugu State Ministry of Commerce & Industry) expressed the joy and felicitations of the people and Government of Enugu State on the return of Ethiopian Airlines. He pledged Government’s continued support to the Airport and people of the State to optimize the opportunities prevalent in the Ethiopian Airlines operation in the State.
On the part of the Organized Private Sector, the President Enugu Shippers Association, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, expressed delight on the return as it will positively impact the business of shippers in the state. He thanked Ethiopian Airline and NAHCO for the level playing ground achieved in terms of freight charges between Enugu and other locations in Nigeria stating that shippers will capitalize on this to increase business volume.
Speaking on behalf of Cargo Agents, the Managing Director, Direct Divine Cargo, Mr. Ezeaku Onyeka, expressed gratitude to Almighty God for the unique role played by NAHCO in facilitating the gathering. He stated that with freight rate equalization between Lagos and Enugu, there is no incentive any longer for agents to route their shipments through other airports. He pleaded that Ethiopian Airlines should consider operating freighter services as he anticipates higher volumes which may not be effectively covered by passenger aircraft.