June 6, 2023

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Ground handlers fall short, airport managers to waive landing, parking fees for domestic operators

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Mobile Tower. A recent investment in air safety

As the ground handling companies in Nigeria are clamouring for an increase in their charges, the airlines have scored them low in their service delivery. The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, WestLink Airlines, Capt Ibrahim K. Msheila, made the statement while making his remark as the Chairman of the 25th International Conference and Awards organized by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents of Nigeria, LAAC-N, at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.

Capt Msheila said the aviation ecosystem in Nigeria ought to be closely knit, and should as a matter of compulsion deliver value to one another without an iota of hesitation or doubt in the quality of service being delivered in any arm of the aviation value chain.

He said one could not outright condemn all ground handlers, but those that had been disappointing the airlines and failing to meet up with the airlines’ high standards need to do a rethink and without delay identify ways and means they could meet and surpass the airlines’ expectations.

Msheila also called on the airport managers to be creative in her billings to the airlines. He said as much as the airport managers must recover the cost of its services, she could with some sort of ingenuity, offer relief to the airlines by waiving landing and parking for the domestic operators to hasten their quick recovery from the effect of the COVID-19.

He said the suggestions were nothing out of the ordinary, as some smart aviation nations had begun the application in helping their domestic airlines come out stronger from the aftermath of the pandemic which succeeded in bring aviation to its knees.

The WestLink Airline helmsman charged the leadership of the various government aviation agencies, to critically appraise their manpower which by the effect of COVID-19 had revealed that most of the agencies were over the staff as those of relevance to the agencies service delivery were sizable in number.

Hence, he called on the government to do a critical reappraisal of its manpower with the view to placing square pegs in square holes and the excess wage bill could be recouped and plough to other productive sections of the national economy.

He cited some schools of thought which he said were of the opinion that bills from these government agencies do not commensurate to the services rendered but the agencies bill to airlines and other stakeholders was to enable them to maintain the retinue of irrelevant workers in their nominal rolls.

Capt Ibrahim K. Msheila, called on the regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to engage well trained, and seasoned inspectors to enable them to deliver knowledge. He added that apart from regular training of inspectors wherever the knowledge could be procured, he advised the government to ensure their remuneration was at par with what FAA pays its inspectors in the US and Euro Aviation Safety Authority, EASA, pays its team of engineers and inspectors.

He said very good remuneration would not make inspectors fall for cheap gratifications to undermine their service delivery but to at all times stand for justice, equity and fairness.

Representative of the Minister of Aviation, Engr Akin Olateru, said the federal government was determined to continue improving on the aviation infrastructure as a means to guarantee safe and economic operations at all times.

The Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, who stood in for Senator Hadi Sirika, AviationMinister, said the government will continue in its policy formulation to ensure continuity in the industry’s safety record.

He said every aspect of the industry’s operations were in strict compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s, ICAO’s recommended standards and practices.

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