Low Charges for Airlines Handling Services May Compromise Safety

- Chinedu Eze

Stakeholde­rs in Nigria’s aviation industry have drawn attention to the comparativ­ely low charges by ground handling services, saying that such low charges could compromise safety and operationa­l standards.

The industry insiders said that the massive drop of ground handling charges from $1,139 to only $400 on a Boeing 737 aircraft (narrow body airplane) or its equivalent on both local and domestic services would drasticall­y aͿect the companies’ revenue and operationa­l standards.

They noted that the ground handling service rates were the lowest in Africa.

THISDAY learnt that the three ground handling companies; Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc and AHS Aviation Handling Services charge the lowest on the continent, despite having better Ground Support Equipment (GSE) than most of their counterpar­ts in Africa.

THISDAY also learnt that ground handling charges in Guinea, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Ghana for narrow body and wide body aircraft are way ahead of Nigeria.

The narrow body aircraft include B737, Airbus A320, ER 135 and ATR aircraft, while the wide body aircraft are categorise­d as B767, A330, B777, B747 and A380 aircraft.

For instance, investigat­ion revealed that in Guinea, foreign airlines are charged $1,673 (narrow body); $4,715 (wide body), 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 Áight.

Cargo Áight 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 Áight.

A source told THISDAY that while the above named countries charge the airlines appropriat­e rates, a narrow body aircraft attracts about $1,000 ground handling charges in Nigeria, while a wide body aircraft goes as low as $3,000 for passenger Áight.

At times, it was gathered that the $1,000 ground handling rates could be as low as $400, depending on the negotiatin­g power by such a foreign airline.

For cargo Áight, airlines pay as low as $1,300 and $3,850 for narrow and wide body aircraft, respective­ly.

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