Reps stall implementation of new ground handling rates
•Summons NCAA to close-door meeting
The House of Representatives has temporarily stalled the implementation of new safety threshold handling rates that were recently approved for indigenous and international carriers.
The lawmakers, at a hearing on the matter on Wednesday, summoned the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to a closed-door meeting.
After a 35-year wait, the Federal Government approved new safety threshold ground handling charges, effective October 1, 2021, for international carriers, and January 1, 2022, for domestic operators.
According to the review, foreign airlines shall pay ground handlers between $1,500 and $5,000 for passenger and cargo airlines. Their domestic counterparts shall pay between N25,000 and N70,000, depending on the aircraft type.
The much-awaited review puts an end to perennial underpricing and destructive competition in the ground handling sub-sector of aviation, which has resulted in a revenue shortfall of $28.35 million or N11.6 billion (N410/$) yearly.
However, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, at the session with the representatives of the Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN), Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Airline Operators Committee (AOC), International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and NCAA in Abuja, said the meeting with the regulatory agency was necessary because of the importance of the new rates.
Nnaji assured that the committee would continue to protect the interest of Nigeria and business entities operating in the country.
He said: “The meeting with the Director-General of NCAA is important because we believe his inputs are necessary for us to make a decision. The issue at hand is very important for the growth of the Nigerian civil aviation industry.
“Whatever we are going to come up with as a committee will be for the good of the industry.”
However, no new date had been fixed for the continuation of the hearing on the matter, but Nnaji assured that the committee would reconvene soon.
AON and AOC had earlier petitioned the committee for its intervention on the new rates.