Fly­ing High

Africa Outlook - - Contents - Writer: Matthew Staff Project Man­ager: Vivek Valmiki

Kenya’s ground han­dler of choice

Start­ing as a freighter com­pany back in 1987, the past 30 years has seen Tradewinds Avi­a­tion Ser­vices evolve from its head­quar­ters at the Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Nairobi, Kenya to be­come a multi-faceted, wellestab­lished ground ser­vice op­er­a­tor in Africa’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try.

Ac­count­ing not just for ground ser­vices, but also meet and as­sist, lo­gis­tics and training pro­vi­sion across Kenya, the busi­ness’s in­flu­ence has gone from be­ing lo­cal, to na­tional, and now even in­ter­na­tional virtue of its high-pro­file client base.

“Tradewinds has in­creased its coun­try­wide foot­print to in­clude Mom­basa, Kisumu, Malindi, Lamu, Ukunda, Wa­jir and Isi­olo Air­ports,” elab­o­rates Com­mer­cial Di­rec­tor, Clive De Souza. “[From these bases] we are ca­pa­ble of hand­ing all types of air­craft with more than 800 trained and cer­ti­fied staff work­ing in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

“As such, Tradewinds Avi­a­tion prides it­self on pro­vid­ing world-class ground han­dling ser­vices and avi­a­tion so­lu­tions and has ac­quired af­fil­i­a­tions and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions with lead­ing in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing ASA, IATA, NBAA and RA3.”

In 2011, this im­pres­sive CV was bol­stered by the ac­qui­si­tion of IATA – ISAGO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which has since been re­newed; com­pound­ing the pri­vate Com­pany’s over­all sig­nif­i­cance within the sec­tor across its three di­vi­sions - Tradewinds Avi­a­tion, Tradewinds Lo­gis­tics and Tradewinds Training Ser­vices.

De Souza en­thuses: “We have, over the past decade es­pe­cially, built a for­mi­da­ble en­ter­prise serv­ing both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in the fields of ground han­dling and lo­gis­tics, and now we have added spe­cialised avi­a­tion­re­lated ca­reers training to our re­mit.”

Above and be­yond

This lat­ter propo­si­tion was in­tro­duced as a re­sult of high de­mand for af­ford­able avi­a­tion training, which it­self de­rived from in­creased traf­fic seen at Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port (JKIA).

Lever­ag­ing the ex­per­tise for­mu­lated within Tradewinds over al­most 35 years, the abil­ity to pass on this knowl­edge to the next gen­er­a­tion across Kenya seemed a nat­u­ral step and has al­lowed the Com­pany to spread its core val­ues more con­cert­edly through­out the in­dus­try.

“What de­fines us is our pas­sion for what we do which is driven by our or­gan­i­sa­tional cul­ture and built from our val­ues of integrity, safety, team­work and qual­ity,” De Souza ex­plains. “We go above and be­yond to en­sure cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and I can tell you that with con­fi­dence be­cause we cur­rently han­dle the most dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing clients at JKIA.

“Hold­ing cer­tifi­cates like ISAGO and RA3 shows our com­mit­ment to meet­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards while the con­tin­u­ous training of our staff helps us main­tain our qual­ity stan­dards and ser­vices.”

Con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment not only man­i­fests in terms of ser­vice ex­pan­sion and diver­si­fi­ca­tion, how­ever. In re­cent years es­pe­cially, it has been ev­i­dent on more in­tri­cate lev­els, in­cor­po­rat­ing ar­eas of tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ments, equip­ment im­prove­ments, fa­cil­ity up­grades and an over­all strive for ef­fi­ciency.

De Souza con­tin­ues: “The Com­pany has re­ally in­vested in tran­si­tion­ing and im­prov­ing sys­tems that cater for daily oper­a­tions for our clients. Pas­sen­ger check-in sys­tem training for staff and close IT sup­port for all our clients is done to meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards; and there is also a strong em­pha­sis on main­tain­ing all dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels with var­i­ous ser­vice providers to en­sure the SLAs are met for ease of in­for­ma­tion flow between us and our clients.”

The ad­di­tional in­tro­duc­tions of new trac­tors and pas­sen­ger buses, a new training academy to train ex­ter­nal clients, and an en­hanced or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture to stream­line the busi­ness have been piv­otal on an in­ter­nal note. But they have also reaped re­wards ex­ter­nally, as Tradewinds’ client port­fo­lio be­comes vaster and more es­teemed.

The likes of Magma, DHL, As­tral and the UN alone epit­o­mise this no­tion.

Ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion

Not only does such in­vest­ments and im­prove­ments make Tradewinds Avi­a­tion Ser­vices a busi­ness part­ner

and provider of choice, but also an em­ployer of choice.

Renowned as an equal op­por­tu­nity em­ployer, the Com­pany’s as­tute­ness as a training provider has only strength­ened the Com­pany’s po­si­tion, and a healthy re­la­tion­ship with a num­ber of avi­a­tion training in­sti­tu­tions con­tin­ues to com­pound this at­tribute.

“Then when it comes to training and re­ten­tion, this is taken very se­ri­ously,” De Souza picks up. “Staff un­dergo manda­tory training for a week be­fore be­ing as­signed du­ties, and then attend re­fresher training ev­ery two years.

The board of direc­tors hold quar­terly meet­ings with staff to en­sure they are work­ing un­der good conditions, and their per­sonal de­vel­op­ment is en­cour­aged at all times through our training fa­cil­ity.”

Themes of lo­cal­i­sa­tion and in­ter­nal pro­mo­tion are achieved as a con­se­quence, fos­ter­ing a fam­ily feel within the over­all busi­ness that can then trans­late into a per­son­able re­la­tion­ship with cus­tomers and air­ports.

“We be­lieve our work­force is our great­est re­source, so we en­sure that they are con­tin­u­ously trained to en­sure we main­tain our stan­dards and sur­pass clients’ ex­pec­ta­tions,” De Souza af­firms. “In the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, we ex­pe­ri­ence a lot of dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy in­ven­tions, so need well­trained staff to be able to mon­i­tor other ground han­dlers, as well as traf­fic through JKIA, new tech­nolo­gies, new ground ser­vice equip­ment, im­proved sys­tems, and nec­es­sary in­vest­ments so that we can stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“If we meet these re­quire­ments, then we will not only grow to have rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the whole of East Africa as a ground han­dling com­pany, but we will also be­come a training in­sti­tute of choice in the re­gion as well.”

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