10th April, 2013
A Nigerian ground handling company on Tuesday unveiled newly acquired state-of-the-art equipment suitable in handling wide body aircraft and heavy cargo containers, as Nigeria tries to catch up with the modern world in aviation.
“It is the latest high loading equipment in the whole world,” said Mr. Olu Owolabi, Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, SAHCOL.
Six loading equipment – two Commander 40i JBT, two 30i JBT and two Commander 15i JBT – were shown to journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The Commander 40i, Owolabi said, is able to handle big aircraft such as A380 and Boeing 747 and has the capacity of loading up to 20,000 kilogrammes of cargo at once at a speed of 18.30 metre per minute.
It is equipped with stabilisers, side guides and emergency pumps for an easy and safe handling of heavy cargo loads in aircraft.
Owolabi said the Commander 30i can also carry and lift very high capacity cargo, and is suitable in handling wide body aircraft including A380 or Boeing 747.
The Commander 15i is suitable in handling aircraft such as Boeing 757, 767, 777, 787, A340 as well as lower deck, passenger and cargo aircraft.
While the Commanders 40i and 30i have a maximum transfer height of 5.588 metres, the Commander 15i has a maximum transfer height of 3.60 metres.
Thobi Duma, country manager for South Africa Airways, who was at the unveiling of the equipment, said the new equipment will help improve ground handling service.
“The success of SAHCOL is the success of South Africa Airways,” Duma said while calling on trained hands to man the equipment for more efficiency.
Kingsley Nwokoma, President Association of Foreign Airlines in Nigeria, said the new equipment was groundbreaking.
Although SAHCOL boss claimed it is the latest high loading equipment in the world, a quick search on the internet shows that in Europe, Asia and America and even in some African countries, some ground handling companies have been using the Commander 60i for years.
“Nigeria is still coming far behind. When you travel around the world, this new equipment is everywhere and has been there for years. It is needed for big aircraft and it is available everywhere,” an aviation analyst said. SAHCOL and NAHCO are the biggest ground handling companies in Nigeria and have been in stiff competition for years.
—Simon Ateba/Aviation correspondent