By Goddy Egene
Skye Bank Plc is bankrolling a major new initiative to boost air travellers’ in-flight experience as the financier of the strategic airline catering and logistics alliance between Servair, a foreign firm and Global Trade Investment Limited, a Nigerian company.
Servair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air France, brings world class management and technical expertise while Global Trade brings deep knowledge of the Nigerian market to create a customer service hub aimed at redefining in-flight experience. Skye Bank brings the finance to make the partnership a success.
The Servair-Global Trade partnership will lead to an initial production capacity of 4,000 to 5,000 meal trays per day which will increase as market dictates. The hub of their operations is the Muritala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, which is strategically positioned for this development with approximately 6.7 million passengers passing through it every year.
Skye Bank is at the centre of the new initiative to make Nigeria the largest operational base of Servair in Africa. The bank is financing the 5000 meals per day in-flight catering facility with a 900m2 temperature controlled warehouse to cater for airlines under an Export Free Trade Processing Zone arrangement at the international wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Besides in-flight food services, the Servair-Global Trade partnership also engages in handling of equipment and logistics consisting of the loading and unloading of aircraft, management and storage of airline products, provision of airport assistance from runway to the terminal, cleaning of the cabin, and preparation of clean and comfortable aircraft.
Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, said the bank has been playing an active role in nurturing the industry to growth through funding of infrastructure, acquisition of aircraft and partnership with support service providers in the industry.
He noted that the special nature of air travel made the aviation industry a very sensitive one that requires high standards, effective regulation and complementary equipment to ensure safety of both passengers and aircraft.
According to him, the intensity of airlines core services and activities often imposes financial constraints to the airlines but a strong financier like Skye Bank provides the necessary back-up to ease such strain and make air travelling more exciting.
Industry analysts noted that most times, the high demands imposed on airlines in terms of having their aircraft well maintained and properly equipped with safety equipment leave the airlines with little or no time to attend to on-board customer service. Often, their preoccupation is the safety of flights and passengers which many national and international aviation regulatory agencies are out to regulate and enforce.