Precision Aviation Handling Company Limited (PAHCOL) Limited, an aviation ground handling and its partner, Aviation Handling Services (AHS) International have suspended ground handling operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja pending the time it regularizes its documentation with Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This comes after the company was accused of carrying out handling services without certification.
In his reaction, the Lagos Director of Aviation Handling Services (AHS), Sam Oluwole has denied reports that the firm and its partners carried out illegal ground handling operations at the Lagos Airport. In his words, Menzies Aviation only provides PAHCOL with equipment and logistics.
He said, “According to NCAA, Menzies Aviation has not obtained a ground handling license to operate in Nigeria. That is correct. However, our company is not Menzies Aviation but AHS Nigeria Limited. Menzies Aviation is solely providing support to AHS Nigeria Limited with regards to ground handling operating standards and procedure,”
“So, for anybody to say that on February 7, 2018, Menzies Aviation handled a flight at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) is completely false. Menzies Aviation did not handle any flight on that day. It was handled by AHS Nigeria Limited which was made up of PAHCOL and AHS International”.
“That aspect of it is what we are currently talking with NCAA. Even as I speak, we are yet to get official notification of what and what they want us to do to regularise the situation. The last meeting we had with them yesterday was February 8, 2018. Verbally it was agreed that the situation would need to be remedied. We told them that here now, we are faced with a situation where hundreds of Nigerians that had been employed; young people have to go home”.
“We have to find a way round this whole thing in the interest of the country and make sure that the situation is regularised. Out of respect for them, out of respect for constituted authority, we already took the decision to suspend our operations even without official notification. We expected the official letter to come in today, by Monday, it will come in. We have suspended the operations to show that whatever act of omission that had taken place is not intended to embarrass NCAA or to slight the authorities”, he added.
Oluwole said all the company was interested in was doing everything right because of huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that would come to the country because of the return on investment.
“What we are talking about is a lot of employment opportunities for cargo, for passenger handling activities and so forth. Thousands of Nigerians and by extension hundreds of thousands of dependants will benefit from this”.
He explained that in 2006, Precision Aviation Handling Company Limited (PAHCOL) was incorporated to commence ground handling activities in all Nigerian airports.
According to him, he explained that the company started to break the domineering power Skypower Aviation Handling Limited (SAHCOL and Nigeria Aviation Company (NAHCO) had in the ground handling services (and still has).
“When we started, we found out that what was required was highly capital and in terms of equipment, 75 percent of your investment goes into ground handling business. We then set about getting a viable foreign partner that will help us; one that allows us to actualize our objectives which will strengthen our potentials in that area. With that type of situation, we stretched our tentacles out. At the end of the day we were able to find partnership in a group called Aviation Handling Services (AHS) International.”
The arrangement was to partner with PAHCOL and operate on PACHOL license until when they can have their own direct license. That was where AHS Nigeria Limited was born. AHS Nigeria Limited now incorporated through shareholders AHS international.
“PAHCOL had obtained its ground handling license which normally runs for five years. We were the first to get ten-year license tenure”.
Speaking further, Oluwole made it known that it was impossible for Menzies to carry out its services in the country as it does not have the license to do that. This he explained was why PAHCOL handled business on its behalf.
“AHS Aviation Limited is a Menzies partner and Menzies supports them with logistics anywhere in the world to ensure standards, quality assurance making sure that the same standard you have in Accra is what you have in Texas, London Gatwick in different airports with Menzies standard”, he added.
It will be recalled that last week, NCAA had earlier made claims that Menzies Aviation carried out handling services without the approval of the Authority as it was not a licensed operator. This report was however said to be untrue by Menzies Aviation