Posted by Sade Williams
Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) has signed a contract with Virgin Atlantic Airline to handle its cargo operations.
SAHCO Plc was chosen by the airline based on the company’s track records in Cargo Handling, Ramp Handling, Passenger Handling, Warehousing among other ground handling activities in the aviation sector in Nigeria and West Africa Sub-region.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo awarded the handling contract to SAHCO in Lagos to improve its service offering for customers in Nigeria and to provide growth capacity following a 19% boost in the airline’s export volumes last year and higher inbound demand from the pharmaceutical and courier sectors.
From 10th April 2019, Virgin Atlantic’s import and export cargo will be handled in SAHCO’s 22,000 sqm warehouse operation at Murtala Muhammed International Airport. This incorporates special facilities including cold rooms for perishables and temperature-sensitive shipments, and dedicated locations for courier and high value cargo. The warehouse building’s 22 truck loading bays will expedite collections and deliveries of cargo, while 24/7 CCTV coverage, access control systems, screening technology and a control room will ensure the highest levels of security.
According to Tonia Boye, Director–Cargo Operations, Virgin Atlantic, the contract with SAHCO PLC will help boost the company’s cargo business.
In her words, “Lagos has been an important cargo market for us for more than 17 years and we are forecasting further growth in our export and import volumes in 2019. By moving to a larger and modern facility, we can improve our product and service offerings for the growing number of companies moving goods to and from Nigeria”.
Virgin Atlantic’s daily Nigeria flights which is operated by Airbus A340-600 aircraft with up to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity – saw positive revenue and volume growth in 2018. Revenues ex UK rose 9% year-on-year, helped by a 135% rise in pharmaceutical volumes and a 21% growth in courier shipments, while the 11% boost in annual revenues ex-Lagos was largely attributed to higher perishables traffic because of the Nigerian government’s initiative to encourage agricultural exports.
SAHCO, incorporated as an aviation ground handling services provider under the Nigerian Company & Allied Matters Act of 1990, was formerly known as Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited which was bought by the SIFAX Group under the leadership of Dr Taiwo Afolabi (MON).
Despite the 2008 Nigerian Stock Market crash and the fact that the last Initial Public Offer (IPO)in the country was in 2014, SAHCO offered 30% of its shares to the public in respect of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) entered with the Federal Government of Nigeria at privatization in 2009.The IPO was successfully subscribed thereby transforming the company from a private limited company.
SAHCO business model is geared towards delivering premium services and this has necessitated massive investment in personnel development, state of the art Ground Support Equipment, fleet replacement and infrastructure development in aviation ground handling, as a result making SAHCO a one stop shop for Passenger Handling, Cargo Handling and Ramp Handling Services in the Nigerian Aviation Ground Handling Services.