THE Aviation Ground Services (AGS) plans to raise over US$2 million for recapitalisation next year as it seeks to improve efficiency and quality of passenger handling services at the country’s commercial airports.
The entity was assigned passenger handling services in May this year after years of serving the cargo section only.
AGS Harare station manager Shingirai Ruombwa told Standardbusiness in an interview that the company is also working on automating its data through the Network Accounting Facility (NAF) system.
“We have got a NAF system, which helps us in terms of our statistics. It is no longer going to be manual,” Ruombwa said.
“We are also looking at further automating in the area of baggage tracing.
“In fact, we have already acquired a system that will help us in terms of baggage, lost and found baggage, and the tracing of that baggage.
“Also, in terms of reducing or eliminating inadmissible passengers, we have scanners and equipment that help us to check on the authenticity of passports.
“So, we have already deployed the equipment here in Harare and over the weekend we shall be deploying in Bulawayo.
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“So, for 2024, we are yet to sit for our final budget meeting.
“But what I can tell you is in terms of equipment or the recapitalisation, we are looking at an excess of US$$2 million.”
The company recently acquired US$4, 5 million new passenger handling equipment.
“I would say our equipment, in terms of market value, is over US$4,5 million. I would like to thank our shareholders.
“They have really gone out of their way to invest a lot, especially in this airline business,” Ruombwa said.
“If you look at the period from the time the license was awarded, the concession was awarded in May, and in less than three months, they have already acquired equipment that is enough to service all the commercial airports in Zimbabwe.”
“So, the equipment that we are talking about here is also your lower deck and upper deck loaders, the transporters, pushback tags, baggage wagons, and we have got passenger aid units.
“A passenger aid unit is a sort of equipment that is used to assist passengers with reduced mobility.
“So, we are the only ones with such a piece of equipment. We have got one that has been delivered so far and another one is in transit. We expect it next week (this week).”
Ruombwa said the company is adhering to the regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to avoid cargo that could be confiscated by the authorities.
He said the company is an IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (IASGO) provider as it was audited by IATA under the IATA safety audit for ground operations and the European Union under the Third Country EU Aviation Security validated Regulated Agent (RA3) security programme.
ISAGO is an industry programme for the global oversight of ground-handling service providers.
An RA3 is a cargo handling entity located in a third country that is validated and approved as such on the basis of an EU aviation security validation.
“From our warehouses, we don't have anything that has been confiscated,” Ruombwa said.
“We are an ISAGO provider, which means in terms of safety and security we have been audited by IATA under the IATA safety audit for ground operations and we have also been audited by the EU under the RA3 security programme.
“So, we uphold those standards, so that also helps us in terms of reducing cargo that could be confiscated by authorities.”