Federal government has approved a new Safety Threshold Ground Handling Charges for foreign and domestic airline operators, 35 years after the last adjustment.
A circular signed by Director-General of the NCAA, Musa Nuhu, dated September 6, 2021 with the reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/315, and addressed to “All Airlines and Ground Handling Companies” (foreign and local), with the subject: “Safety Threshold Ground Handling Charges,” said that the new ground handling charges will take effect from October 1, 2021 for international carriers and January 1, 2022 for domestic airline operators.
“All stakeholders are directed to ensure full compliance with the safety threshold ground handling charges. Any change to these charges must be done in formal consultation with and approval of the NCAA. Please be guided accordingly,” the circular said.
Daily Trust reports that the approval issued by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is coming 35 years after the last amendment was done in 1986. Since then, ground handlers have called for adjustments to the rates.
With the approval, the charges are now at par with what is obtainable in other African countries.
The new approved rates are $1,500 and $5,000 (passenger and cargo flights) for a narrow and wide body aircraft respectively, while domestic operators will now pay between N25,000 and N70,000.
Before, handling rates in Nigeria hovered around $400 and $1,139 (narrow body) and $3,000 and $3,200 (wide body) which was the lowest in Africa.
Narrow-body aircraft include Boeing B737, Airbus A320, ER 135 and ATR, while wide body aircraft are B767, A330, B777, B747 and B787.
Reacting, Chairman, Association of Ground Handlers of Nigeria (AGHAN), Olaniyi Adigun, lauded the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the NCAA -DG for granting the approval.
“With the right pricing in handling rates, we will be able to provide quality, efficient and safe service delivery. We will be able to compete with any service provider gradually,” he said.
AGHAN’s Vice-Chairman, Ahmed Bashir said the new safety threshold handling charge would save the industry from collapse.
“NCAA knows that every part of our business is capital intensive. And as we all know, safety starts and ends on the ground. You have little or no control actually when the aircraft is in the air,” he said.