Menzies Aviation, an unregistered company today began illegal ground handling operations at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
It was gathered that while the process of certifying the company was going on at NCAA, Menzies went ahead to offer ground handling services to some airlines including Air Cote d’Ivoire which departed from Abidjan.
Investigation revealed that the ground handling firm has its headquarters in Dublin, Republic of Ireland and a base in Accra, Ghana.
A security operative at the airport who craved anonymity said in an interview that the company used a licence issued by NCAA to Precision Aviation Handling Company Ltd (PAHCOL) but it (PAHCOL) could not start operation due to lack of equipment.
Besides, it was gathered that Menzies Aviation used Arik Air’s ground handling equipment to carry out its operations.
Arik Air is not licensed to do ground handling for another airline, but has the right to handle some of its operations.
“The handling company rendered handling services to Air Cote d’Ivoire today. They came without an operating license. They borrowed Arik Air’s equipment to commence handling. Meanwhile Arik Air is not a ground handling company. How did their staff get to the ramp?
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) did not give them apron pass; they used Arik equipment to get to the apron area to commence operations. They are using PACHOL licence and Arik equipment to deceive clients and FAAN.
“The company used PACHOL license, which NCAA said is non-transferable. NCAA actually told them to do the proper thing, that if they want to come into Nigeria, they should register while the agency carries out security checks on them. They know that if they use PACHOL’s name to operate, they will not attract foreign and big airlines. And to win clients, they tell airlines that they are Menzies,” said the source.
The source added that such act was a breach of security which should attract severe sanctions.
“Before any company carries out operations at the airport, it ought to go through security checks. But Menzies has violated this provision by commencing operations without due approval,” he added.
The spokesman for NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye confirmed development in a telephone interview said the agency had commenced investigation into the matter.
The matter has been reported to us. I have been able to confirm that and NCAA is looking at all the angles. We will look at the aspect of registration. Do they have the appropriate clearance to do what they did?
“We know they applied to NCAA for ground handling business, but what we are looking at is whether they were certified to start operating. We are investigating their operations,” said Adurogboye.