Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Arik Air increases frequency on Lagos, Douala route

SAHCOL to provide Ground Handling Services as South Africa Airways intoduces Abuja entry point

SAHCOL to provide Ground Handling Services as South Africa Airways intoduces Abuja entry point

Zainab Junaid Elesho

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), has been named by South African Airways as a preferred Ground Handler in its Abuja operations.

BASIL AGBOARUMI, General Manager,Corporate Communications,for SAHCOL disclosed this adding that this award kicks off the beginning of another long standing relationship between SAHCOL and South African Airways (SAA), in providing seamless services to the airline.

By this contract, Mr. Agboarumi said the company would again have the privilege of providing fast and expedient ground handling services to the SAA operations in Abuja, in the areas of Passenger, Ramp and Cargo Handling services.

South African Airways (SAA), had on Monday, October 19, announced the introduction of a second entry point to Nigeria in its quest to enable trade and unlock mobility, which will considerably add to business travel options in the West African region.

"Adding a second gateway in Nigeria to SAA’s existing daily service to Lagos materially strengthens SAA’s position in West Africa where it plays a significant role in enabling the movement of goods and people between Southern Africa and West Africa thereby enhancing the growing trade and cultural exchanges between these two regions.

“A second entry point in Nigeria forms part of our Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, which identified growth on the African continent as one of its key objectives. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing air travel markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and will be well served with our additional services to Abuja.

“Introducing Abuja as a second entry point in Nigeria will add more travel options, especially for the business community, and will enhance our footprint on the continent,” says Sylvain Bosc, SAA Chief Commercial Officer.

“Enhancing air travel links with Nigeria speaks to the growth in bilateral relations between South Africa and Nigeria. The two countries historically have had strong economic, diplomatic, social and fraternal ties. These are the two economic powerhouses of Africa, with much more to offer and share,” says Aaron Munetsi, SAA Regional General Manager for Africa.

Abuja flights have been scheduled for seamless connectivity into SAA’s inter-continental route network to destinations such as Perth, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. These connections will make it easy for regional traders, leisure travellers, travellers visiting friends and relatives, diplomatic communities, and international organisations from the northern and central parts of Nigeria to seamlessly connect through O.R Tambo International airport onwards to the airline’s inter-continental and regional route network," Aaron said.

Stakeholders calls for Organisational synergy in the sector

Stakeholders calls for Organisational Synergy in the Aviation Sector

Zainab Junaid Elesho

THE Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Bello Binta has affirmed that there is need for synergy of all organizations and stakeholders in the industry in order to achieve a “win-win situation” for the sector.

Hajia Bello made this remark in Lagos during the 21 st Annual Seminar of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) which held at the NCAA Annex, MMIA Lagos, adding that in recognition of the need for a win-win situation in aviation, the stakeholder needs to carry everybody along in policy decisions by the regulations, so as “to ensure that diverse interests are aggregated and equitably catered for.”

Also speaking at the seminar, Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General, NIGERIAN Civil Aviation Authority who said the year's seminar coincided with the resuscitation of the Nigeria’s first newspaper IWE IROYIN after 140 years of its demise, stated that this year’s seminar has an historic bent to it. "Your seminar is a celebration of journalism in Nigeria," he said.

Capt. Usman went further by highlighting the state of the industry and also proposing a way forward for aviation in the country in consonance with global aviation.

According to him, to have a win-win situation, the sector really needs to move in line with the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) which was originally established in 1944. "It states that signatories should collectively work to harmonise and standardise the use of airspace for safety, efficiency and regularity of air transport."

" At present, a lot of foreign airlines are finding Nigeria an investor’s basket. A total nos of 15 (Fifteen) countries have so far indicated their preparedness to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with our country. While 13 others on the threshold waiting for renegotiation of their existing BASAs. From January to July this year, the total amount of ticket sold on the domestic routes is 2,352,011,595.17 naira. While the international operators sold 8,176,919,415.10 naira, within the same period. The total volume of passengers airlifted from January – July 2015 by the domestic operators is 6,061,740 passengers while their foreign counterpart freighted 2,341,748 in similar period.

"The Regulatory Authority is determined to put in the past the hydra- headed problem of dearth of technical staff. We now have a preponderance of Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) and the requisite technical manpower.

"We have interviewed and employed a lot of engineers who are presently undergoing training at the Nigerian c College of Aviation Technology, (NCAT), Zaria. Against this background, it is pertinent to note that the future of aviation is now on passenger experience and aviation technology. Enhancing the customer experience is the most important driver for airline operators to embrace next generation “connected” technology, according to an Aviation CIO Outlook 2015.

"A survey was conducted by Terrapinn Connect with hundreds of airlines and airports from around the world as respondents. Reportedly, 82% of the respondents cite customer experience as one of their top three (3) drivers, followed by operational efficiency (69%) and derivable revenue (55%). In other words, airlines operational efficiency should begin to gravitate towards customer centric services. If we all agree that passengers are the revenue base of all operations, there is therefore an implicit need to review our services at the airports and on board the aircraft. This will in turn provide value for money for passengers.

"To provide good and efficient services however, it can only be done with technological development. Our airlines need to join other global players and begin to strive to purchase newer aircraft and invest heavily in technology.

"We need to connect technology in line with global trends with enterprise mobility and provide Wi-Fi infrastructure at our airports.

"I am also aware that Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 have Wi-Fi facility but more airports need to be connected for customers’ comfort and seamless communication. Airline staff can deliver personalised and efficient services to passengers. Targeted marketing offerings need to be intensified to capture the much needed additional revenue from travellers. We can go further by providing automation and self service for passengers at our various airports. Technology and systems integration into our operations are bound to be expensive and could afflict our budget.However, when we achieve this, it will cause a triple win of improving experience, efficiency and generating the much needed revenue. On the Regulatory part, NCAA will continue to strengthen the Directorate of Consumer Protection (DCP).We will increase our speed in concluding the automation of our customer complaints portal. This will enable us resolve aggrieved passengers complaints in real time. When complaints are resolved in real time, the teeming passengers will look forward to another travel experience. This is the new aviation thinking and reinforced with technological development," he maintained.