AGS wins key award

HARARE - Aviation Ground Services (AGS) has been recognised for its stellar efforts in improving Zimbabwe’s aviation sector after being awarded the best performing ground handling agent (GHA) for southern Africa by the South African Airways (SAA).

Caleb Mudyawabikwa, the company’s managing director, believes they were rewarded by one of the world’s biggest carriers due to their “track record in customer care, a good human resource and infrastructure base”.

“As a company that operates in a time-sensitive and service-orientated sector, there’s nothing that we do best than (specialise in) customer care and l believe we were also recognised for our efforts in facilitating... their businesses by processing planes within the shortest possible turnaround time,” he said.

“And as a conduit for growth of various sectors, I believe that our efficiency in serving clients is not only good in facilitating trade in general, but will also help such initiatives as ZimAsset,” Mudyawabikwa said.

For a company that has been competing against the likes of Swissport, the award means AGS is holding its own among global giants.

While the firm competes against the likes of National Handling Services in Zimbabwe, customer service and revenue manager Collen Masango says the SAA award was least surprising as they have been winning plaudits since 2003 after an almost similar award from British Airways.

“AGS’s continued success is premised on inherent capabilities and a sustainable culture of hard work, and which is... driven by focussed management,” he said.

The company serves, among other airlines, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Atlas Air, DHL, Martin Air and other ad hoc clients.

To add to its credentials, AGS has also won key international certifications such as the European Union’s regulated agent status — meaning it’s compliant with many anti-terror, contraband movement and other cargo processing measures.

The company, which has pumped $1,5 million-plus to boost the business since dollarisation of the economy, has also invested in key aviation equipment such as a 60-tonne Frasia pow-tug to push back planes, 10-tonne forklift, high loaders and tractors.

AGS, which employs over a 100 people, has also built warehouses that are benefitting other aviation sector players.

Mudyawabikwa also says they were hoping to grow their national footprint — outside Harare —by acquiring a passenger services licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) and mainly to service the Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls airports.

“Although we are currently restricted to cargo, we are hoping for a passenger handling licence from Caaz ... in order to enlarge AGS’s scope,” he added.

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