Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc. capitalized recently marked 35 years in cargo, aircraft handling, passenger facilitation, crew transportation and aviation training. Part of the activities marking the Company’s 35th anniversary, saw the Managing Director, Mr Kayode Oluwasegun-Ojo, personally handling the check-in formalities of a London-bound Virgin Atlantic Airways passenger Mr. Michael Olusesi.
He thereafter fielded questions from Aviation reporters. Exceprts:
NAHCO is 35 years old. What has kept the company going?
Good and strong corporate governance. The company has maintained strong corporate ethical standards. We are a service provider and whatever impression you create with passengers stays with them and is passed on to others. So, it is imperative you maintain high standard and give customers valued services.
NAHCO is one of the few companies that has been successful after privatization and is one of the few publicly quoted companies in aviation industry. What is the relationship with shareholders?
We have tried to keep faith with our shareholders. We are a profit oriented company. In 2005, Nahco Aviance was privatized and subsequently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2006. The company is now owned by over 80,000 shareholders, including two international airlines — Air France and Lufthansa; as well as local investors; Sycor Private Investment Limited and Rosehill Group Nigeria Limited. The company’s stock exchange symbol is “Nahco”.
We have always placed the interest of our shareholders first and we try to satisfy them. We pay dividends, though the shareholders will always ask for more . We have the confidence of our shareholders. The performance of the company on the stock exchange is okay.
Your company has a strong global alliance with Aviance. How has that impacted your business ?
NACHO has developed strategic global alliances through its membership of Aviance, the global alliance of 10 reputable airport service providers operating from 112 stations in 17 countries. We have a cordial relationship with our partners and we have abided by the MoUs we signed with them. The partnership has made us a global player and has helped us compare our performance with our foreign partners and keep international standards.
In terms of training and equipment, how much has the company invested in these areas ?
We have invested more than $50 million in equipment and training. The benefit of training is what has helped us retain our international clients. In the last three to four years, we have invested more than N500 million on local and international training of our staff. We are a service provider and so, training is key. We provide value and build value through training.
When I took over as chief executive of the company, most of the company’s equipment were more than 20 to 30 years old. In the last three years we have invested heavily in equipment and I am proud to say that our equipment are now less than three years old.
What is your share of the ground handling operations market currently ?
We currently control 85 per cent of the ground handling operations in Nigeria. The company currently serves more than 35 airlines at seven airports across Nigeria, with plans to expand operations to other African countries. It handles about 70% of domestic and foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.
You had issues with the Nigerian Customs over improper warehouse records. Though the issues have been resolved, what is your relationship with the organization now ?
Yes, we, along with SAHCOL, had issues with Nigerian Customs over what they called improper records of goods in our warehouses. The issues have been resolved and agreements were signed. We have abided by these agreements. We have a cordial relation with them.
What has been the biggest challenges so far ?
Infrastructure problems at most of the airports. Power supply is the biggest challenge. It has increased the cost of operations. We are however hopeful that with privatization of the power sector, things will improve. We are also recommending to the government that there should be an independent power project strictly for the airports. This will enhance power supply to the airports.
Also as a leader in ground handling operations in Nigeria, we are target of attack by our competitors. We are however not aversed to healthy competition.