The Managing Director, Nigeria Aviation Handling Company, NAHCOaviance, Mrs. Tokunbo Fagbemi, has disclosed the impact of COVID- 19 on her firm, saying that at the beginning of 2020, they were projected for growth and in the month of January 20-30 per cent growth was recorded but sadly, at the end of the quarter nothing was achieved.
Fagbemi, who lauded the efforts of the workers in the growth of the company amid the downturn occasioned by coronavirus, reiterated that the impact of COVID- 19 started in March 2020 but they didn’t imagine that it was going to be what it was.
“We had our eyes on the fact that something was happening in Asia and as part of our strate gy we looked at SARS and like all the other ones and thought that it wouldn’t come to Africa. We had our eye on it but we didn’t think it would be like this,” she said. Not deterred by the lull in business, the NAHCOaviance boss stated that by March 2020, a business contingency and continuity plan was put in place as part of its operational policy, which were reviewed on how to continue in the event it was forced to shut down.
She said: ”As God will have it, one of the things we did just weeks before the lockdown was to do a business continuity plan, again reviewed attachments, if something happens what do we do, do we shut down, we had that and we took it to our board and luckily we have a very good and strong board with good corporate governance because this was a great anchor of what we have planned for the year.
“We have an approved budget and approved revenue and we want to do things differently and we have the full support of the board. We had meetings with managers, our staff, our unions along with everybody because we couldn’t panic but to tell everybody this is where we are nobody knew it was going to be like this and that is what helped us to be able to move forward.”
Explaining further, she said at lockdown of the aviation industry, a team had already been put in place to manage the operations of the company, adding that the team did a great job during the period as some of them had to stay behind to handle skeletal services and maintain their ground handling facilities to maintain its serviceability state.
On ensuring physical distancing at the work place, she said each department had people to stay to do the little work available and this went on smoothly without hitches until the lockdown was lifted.
“When the lockdown started and the shutdown of the aviation industry, we had already put out team in place and kudos to our team.
We had people that practically lived here for months working in maintenance because without activities how are we going to find everybody and then there is also the issue of having so many people come around when we are talking about social distancing and didn’t even know what was happening.
“Each unit had people to stay and I want to use this opportunity to praise our staff because without them we wouldn’t have survived, we wouldn’t be talking as we are talking now and a lot of people had to make sacrifices to stay behind, not moving back and forth to be able to make sure that things were happening.
“For example, our maintenance team, the skeletal team that stayed on ground spend that time in refurbishing equipment, painting, clean up the yard, making things work, so we had a smaller team doing a lot of work that people could do and that’s sacrifice for the people that did that,” she noted.