The Domestic Airports Cargo Agents Association (DACAA) has called on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to provide them befitting cargo sheds at the airports.
The chairman of the association, Mr. Monday Subair made the call at the launch of its new office at Obi Village in Lagos.
Apart from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, Subair said the 250-member strong association does not have an alternative.
He said with N7 port charge per kilogramme, FAAN can generate N21 million every month if it puts cargo facilities in place at the terminals.
“In a month and with N7 port charge, FAAN can generate N21 million every month if it puts their cargo facility in place. If they put their cargo in place, we will be patronising them. Bi-Courtney will then be forced to bring down their prices,” he said.
On the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on its operations, Subair lamented that they lost over N130 million during the lockdown.
“In a month, we make 90 tones of cargo. During the lockdown, we didn’t make up to 15 tones. So we lost a lot of revenue that period. We lost over 130 million naira during the period.”
On resumption of activities in the aviation sector, he said: “People are not patronising airlines these days because of this social distancing. Airlines priorities are passengers and not cargo. Internally and domestically we don’t have cargo airlines. It is subject to availability of space. We use commercial aircraft. So, if they don’t have enough passengers, there is the likelihood that our cargo might not go.
“For now, there are so many countries that Nigeria is not flying to and they are not equally flying to Nigeria. That has actually reduced our tonnage. Things have not really picked up and I am not sure we will make what we have been making till the end of the year.
“Also we are appealing to federal government to put general aviation terminal (GAT) cargo shed so that we can process our cargo from there. Apart from MMA2, we don’t have any other alternative. When they don’t work, we don’t work.
“We are in the good books of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and FAAN. We registered with them and they allow us to do our legitimate business. We are in good relationships with them including Bi-Courtney,” he added.
On plans to establish a cargo facility inside the airport terminals, Subair said: “Recently, we had a meeting with the terminal manager of FAAN and GAT and they promised us a space and there is likelihood that we will move from here and operate within the GAT terminal before the end of the year.”
With about 250 agents, he said they had done several courses with cargo managers of all the airlines and that the airlines were aware of any step they want to take such as charge increments.
On the challenges the members face, Subair said: “The challenges we are facing is the monopoly of Bi-Courtney. Last time they protested and we also did not work. That is why our request is for the federal government to put GAT in top shape so that we can have alternative.
“Bi-Courtney is the only one now that processes cargo in their terminal. They make a lot of money from port charges. Initially, it was N7, thereafter N15. Because of the monopoly, they increased to 18 naira. They are threatening us now to increase it to N20, while at the international terminal FAAN is still charging N7 per kilogramme,” he added.
In his remarks, the chief executive officer of Bening Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ikpe Nkanang said domestic cargo is grossly under-developed in Nigeria.
He said “DACAA is ready to work with the government to make Lagos Airport the hub of aviation business in Africa.”
Nkanang also said no airline in the world depends solely on ticket sales stressing that the cargo component is another source of revenue to airlines.