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Air-ground handlers going on strike over new tariff regime in Nigeria

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On Friday, November 5, 2021, ground handling operations in Nigerian aviation will be paralysed as Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc, Precision Aviation Handling Company Limited (PAHCOL) and Swissport Handling Company have resolved to embark on an indefinite strike over non-implementation of the new tariff regime.

The impending strike was a result of the order by National Assembly to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to hold on to the implementation of the new tariff regime because of its inability to meet with all parties involved on October 6th.

This strike, according to information, will have an adverse effect on the industry as the airline sub-sector will be paralyzed because their operations naturally tie into the services rendered by the ground handling companies.

The NCAA had approved new safety threshold handling rates for ground handling companies in late August 2021 after 35 years of operating the old rates improving the old rates that could see handlers charge between $1,500 and $5,000 (passenger and cargo flights) for narrow and wide-body aircraft on international routes, respectively, while for domestic operators it was upped to N20,000 and N70,000, depending on the aircraft type.

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With the approval, the ground handling companies were expected to charge the same handling rates as their counterparts in the sub-African countries.

The ground handlers noted that they were already putting modalities in place to commence an indefinite strike starting from this Friday to ensure the commencement of the new regime as approved by NCAA about two months ago.

Knowing the effect of the new rates on their operations, airlines wrote a petition to the National Assembly and claimed they were not carried along, a position countered by the NCAA which provided the minutes of the meeting showing their presence.

The House of Representatives had told NCAA to hold on till the 6th of October after refusing to see the NCAA directors who had all the position papers ready for their perusal stressing that the DG was not there. At the determined date, 6th of October, with everyone including the DG NCAA, airlines and handlers present, the House of Reps committee postponed the meeting indefinitely leaving the matter in a state of a quagmire, worst than it was initially which has led to this current precarious circumstance.

Ref: portnews.com.ng

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