Louis Ibah, Lagos
Aviation regulatory authorities in Nigeria say they have commenced investigations into how an unregistered ground handling company, Menzies Aviation Limited, gained access into the airside of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to offer services to international airlines.
Daily Sun learned that the breach, noticed by a foreign airline, was quickly reported to top security officials at the Lagos airport, prompting security to seek to know how the firm got its licence to access the airport.
Before security halted the firm’s further operations, it had already offered ground handling services to Air Cote d’Ivoire at Lagos Airport, which departed for Abidjan on Wednesday, Sun gathered.
It was also determined that Menzies Aviation used the ground handling equipment of Arik Air to carry out its illegal ground handling operations on the West African carrier.
“This handling company came in without an operating licence and they rendered handling services to Air Cote d’Ivoire today,” said a source at the airport.
“It indicates that our airports are so porous to the extent that an unregistered ground handling company will come in and do business without being detected.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) did not give them apron pass. They went to use Arik equipment to get to the apron area to commence operations. They are using PACHOL licence and Arik equipment to deceive clients and FAAN,” added the source who preferred anonymity.
Spokesman for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCCA), Mr. Sam Adurogboye, told aviation correspondents that the agency had commenced investigation into the issue.
Said Adurogboye: “The matter has been reported to us. I have been able to confirm that and NCAA is looking at all angles on the matter. 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,” he added.