Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) has signed a contract with Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS) to handle its cargo operations in Lagos. The airline entered into the agreement in a bid to improve its service offering for customers in Nigeria and to provide growth capacity following a 19% boost in its export volumes in 2018 and higher inbound demand from the pharmaceutical and courier sectors.
Tonia Boye, Virgin Atlantic’s Director, Cargo Operations, said: “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.”
The airline’s flight out of Lagos, which is operated by an 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.
The deal takes effect from April 10, 2019 and will see VS’ import and export cargo being handled in SAHCO’s 22,000sqm 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.
The carrier picked SAHCO as its preferred handler based on the company’s track record in Cargo Handling, Ramp Handling, Passenger Handling, Warehousing among other ground handling activities in the aviation sector in Nigeria and West Africa Sub-region.