AVIATION Ground Services (AGS) , one of the two companies in Zimbabwe’s aviation ground handling space, says it commands 75 percent of the domestic market share and vows to offer service excellence as it introduces passenger handling service.
The firm, which has more than two decades in the aviation ground handling industry specializing in cargo-handling, yesterday launched the aviation ground services passenger handling equipment procured from South Africa to the tune of US$2 million.
AGS will be implementing the passenger handling service starting on Sunday.
The equipment was commissioned at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International
Airport in Harare by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona who was represented by Dr Loveness Masuka-Dumwa, a chief director in his ministry.
In an interview after the commissioning of the state of-the-art equipment to be deployed across all the five airports in the country, station manager for Harare and Kariba Shingirai Ruombwa said:
“In terms of cargo we have moved more than four million kilogrammes from January to date, but what I can tell you is its more than 75 percent of the cargo that has been moved in Zimbabwe at the airports.
“So, we enjoy approximately 75 percent of the market share.”
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said AGS which started operations in 2001 has always commanded a market share above 60 percent and following the flying into the country by wide body aircraft such as Qatar Airways, the aviation and ground handling firm has consolidated its market share.
“After the Covid-19 pandemic, we are actually gaining market share. One of the things that assisted us, prior to Covid we did not have Qatar Airways, so Qatar Airways came in after Covid period and brought in cargo.
“We are handling all the big airlines in terms of cargo —you talk of Qatar Airways, Emirates, KLM, South African Airways, and Kenya Airways, among others,” said Ruombwa.
The latest equipment that comprises pushback tug, tow tugs, electrical tugs, and container dollies among others, entails that AGS is now able to handle both wide body and narrow aircraft.
In his remarks, AGS chairman Musekiwa Kumbula pledged that his organisation would deliver service excellence.
“We are going to give our best to this industry. You know that at the airport, people coming to visit this country get their first impression at the airport, we are going to ensure that our team will give appropriate reception and appropriate service excellence because people tend to form their impression from how they are received at the airport.
“And as they leave this country, their last impression will come from how we are able to receive and interface with them,” he said.
The firm’s managing director for passenger operations Mr Togara Mushonga said his organisation is coming in to complement National Handling Services (NHS), a firm wholly-owned by the Government.
“Our coming in, we are not looking at other players as competitors. We have been working well with the NHS for a long time ever since when the NHS was created.
“The fact that we now have more equipment is a plus for the country because of all the shortcomings that were there at the airports, it means we can now complement each other so the NHS is not an enemy, we are brothers in trying to lift up the flag for the country because good services means more airlines,” he said.