Why FG should pamper handling companies like airlines —SAHCO MD

THE Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Limited (SAHCO), Mr Basil Agboarumi has urged the federal government to give the same type of preferential treatments being enjoyed by the airline operators and other relevant aviation bodies to ground handling companies.

Making this appeal during an interactive session with some aviation journalists, the SAHCO MD cited how the pandemic negatively impacted all businesses in the sector without exempting the ground handling companies.

While describing Aviation as a human body which made all the body parts to be equally important, Basil declared “Ground handling is a key factor in flight operations and movement of passengers, baggage and cargo from one point to another. We felt that no matter what the government is doing for the airlines, ground handling should be included and benefit from it too. It is just the same way aircraft are gotten from abroad that our own are brought in because none of our equipment is manufactured in Nigeria. We also place orders so that the manufacturers do them. We pay quite a lot of money to get in our handling equipment.

“We believe that what should be done is that same kind of waivers that the airlines are enjoying should also be extended to us to make life easier for us. Recently, we formed an association and this is one of the major things that they are to fight. But we are taking our case to the government, Ministry of Aviation and the NCAA as the representative of government in the aviation industry. The last point was NCAA requesting for some information from us and some of the things that we learnt have to do with the issues that have been raised in some higher places and they needed to submit data and positions. So we submitted our position and I believe that they have taken it from us and we are expecting a feedback from government in that regard. We believe governments should look at us. We have many staff and despite the pandemic, we carry them along. Government should help us.”

Speaking on the request for waiver on import duties and how much SAHCO could save if the waiver was subsequently granted, the MD agreed that the waiver would save huge amount for the company.

His words: “It is huge. We spent N36 million to clear one of our equipment recently. Sometimes, you have some of our equipment that go as much as one million Dollars. We have equipment like that. As I talk to you, there is equipment we placed orders for since early 2020. By the time pandemic started, we still wanted to go on but we couldn’t raise funds. There was one that finished manufacturing and we couldn’t have money to pay, so they have to give it to another ground handling company. Sometimes, it takes about 6 months to produce ground handling equipment. These are some of the challenges. We fabricate those ones we have the capacity to do.”

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