FAAN is only interested in revenue, not infrastructure – SAHCO MD

The Senate Committee on Privatization, led by the Chairman, Senator T.A Orji (4th right) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) Management team led by Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Basil Agboarumi (middle) during an oversight visit to SAHCO headquarter in Lagos.

Senate Committee commends SAHCO

The Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) PLC Mr. Basil Agboarumi has accused the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of only being excited about revenue collection than providing necessary amenities especially cargo scanners that can aid the ground handling business.

Agboarumi also noted that while airlines are given zero tariffs on equipment importation, ground handlers though operating in the same environment have to pay tariffs for ground support equipment.

He also stressed that payment for ground handling services is one of the lowest in the world and it is something that is enjoyed by the airlines while ground handling companies struggle to keep afloat.

SAHCO Managing Director stated this when the Senate Committee on Privatization Senate Committee and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) led by Senator Theodore Orji paid an oversight visit to SAHCO in Lagos, last week.

Senator Theodore, the Chairman of the Committee, commended SAHCO and reiterated that despite the constraints it undergoes, SAHCO has been able to break even and take up responsibilities that are not supposed to be theirs so as to provide excellent services.

He said that according to his experience, most companies downsize after privatization but the reverse has been the case at SAHCO.

The SAHCO boss, Basil Agboarumi said he was happy that the team has visited the company and that there has been a lot of improvement since the previous visit paid to SAHCO. He emphasized that SAHCO was founded from the ashes of the defunct Nigerian Airways and has gone through privatization and is currently listed in the Nigerian Stock Market.

Despite the fact that SAHCO is a success story, Agboarumi stressed that it has not been easy doing business. “Sourcing for FOREX has been a major challenge because aviation ground handling is about quality ground support equipment and unfortunately, they can only be sourced abroad and these need to be paid for by FOREX.

 “Another challenge is the issue of paying 5% of SAHCO’s gross to FAAN with the expectation of making the ground handling business easy by providing the necessary amenities but this is not the case because SAHCO has had to step in to procure some equipment so as to keep up with the global best practices. One of such equipment is the cargo scanners at the warehouse in the Lagos terminal. The scanners are supposed to be procured, manned, and maintained by FAAN but this was not happening and was hampering our business of providing top-notch services to clients which made SAHCO procure this very expensive equipment,” said Agboarumi.  

He also said that SAHCO is the first ground handling company to bring in electric-operated ground support equipment in a bid to go green just like the developed countries are doing right now.

Basil pointed out to the team that since SAHCO was privatized and listed, the clientele has increased immensely. “This is a feat not to be ignored because post-privatization, nobody wanted to do business with SAHCO due to the decrepit equipment and demoralized staff. This has changed due to the massive deployment of brand-new state-of-the-art equipment and due remuneration of staff.”

He that SAHCO has some equipment undergoing clearing, some are being manufactured and while some are on the sea being transported to Nigeria.

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