Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) today (Wednesday, 30 January 2008) assured airlines and passengers that changes currently taking place within the ramp handling environment will not adversely affect operations at the airports.
On Friday (1 February 2008) Swissport will take over the ramp handling services for South African Airways (SAA) from Equity Aviation. ACSA has granted Swissport a temporary license, on a month to month basis, to provide ramp handling services to SAA only.
From 1 March 2008, BidAir Services and Menzies Aviation, the two new licensed ramp handlers will start operations. The two companies have ordered and received new equipment to enable them to provide services to all airlines. The equipment will be deployed to all airports prior to the start date.
ACSA has put in place a comprehensive change management process to ensure a smooth transition. ACSA is working with the airlines, the new ramp handlers including Swissport and other relevant role players around the clock to ensure that service delivery is not comprised during the transition period.
In addition, extra staff from ACSA will be deployed in the operations centers and baggage areas. All other departments have been briefed in detail about the change management process and will be on standby should they be required. There will also be increased presence of safety and security officers on airside and baggage management areas.
Furthermore, Menzies Aviation and BidAir Services are experienced ramp handlers. Menzies is an international ramp handling company with operations in 107 stations worldwide while BidAir is a local company within the Bidvest group of companies. BidAir has a number of companies with relevant aviation experience notably Commuter Handling Services (CHS) with 20 years of ramp handling experience. CHS currently operates under an ACSA issued self handling ramp license and provides services to Comair and Kulula.
The new license conditions signed by Menzies Aviation and BidAir Services compel them to improve baggage delivery standards as well as provide innovative and world class service delivery practices. They will be subject to a stringent service level agreement, which includes provision of secure, on-time baggage delivery, monitoring and supervision of passengers’ bags. They will, amongst other things, be required to perform background checks on baggage handling staff that they employ, train them appropriately and not use casual labour.
There is therefore no reason to believe that there will be any major disruption of ramp handling services or adverse consequences for the aviation industry when Equity Aviations stops operating. In fact, we do expect a huge improvement in service delivery standards.
The urgent court application by Equity (to be heard tomorrow) and the alarmist media comments are merely a desperate last ditch attempt by to achieve a situation where they can continue to render ramp handling services without a valid license and frustrate our attempts to improve service standards.
Manager: Communication, Airports Company South Africa
Mobile: 082 781 8863