Swissport Tanzania attained 90 percent of its revenue target despite a tough year, a top official says.
Without giving the exact amount of money, Swissport CEO Mrisho Yassin attributed the performance in 2017 to improvement in the working environment and service quality.
The company had of providing aviation services for decades until the market was liberalised last year.
It operates ground- and cargo-handling as well as aircraft maintenance and fueling services.
To survive, the company embarked on training, safety and quality, leveraging on good results from airlines audits.
According to Mr Yassin, the company cut its operational costs by 5 percent.
“Although 2017 was very challenging, we performed well. We stayed strong and retained our customers except for Fly Dubai, which was on October 1, grabbed by one of our competitors.”
Swissport Tanzania operates at Julius Nyerere, Kilimanjaro, Songwe and Mtwara airports.
With 1,000 employees, the company has a market share of 99 percent, serving 32 airlines.
Swissport competitors are Nas-Dar Airco that offers cargo and ground-handling services as well as Africa Flight Services, a subsidiary of Paris-headquartered Worldwide Flight Services, which provides only cargo services.
Swissport Tanzania is a subsidiary of Swissport International — the world’s largest provider of ground and cargo-handling services to the aviation industry.
“Further liberalisation of ground-handling business should be considered carefully,” Mr Yassin opines. “We acknowledge that competition is healthy, but if not managed properly it can kill the industry.”
A source says cargo operators depend on only Emirates, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Swissair and Kenya Airways.
Ground handlers rely on Fast Jet, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates, according to the source.
To improve the situation analysts said more investment is needed in airlines to avoid killing cargo and ground-handlers if foreign airlines pull out the local market.
Retaining customers is Swissport’s priority in 2018.
“We have laid down strategies for retaining customers and continuing delivering quality and reliable services to beat our competitors,” he said.
“A series of training on operational efficiency, modern human resource management, investment decisions and the way we engage with our customers will be observed to achieve long-term success and guarantee customer retention and profitability growth.”
Swissport is glad that competition did not catch it by surprise as it that at one time the market would be liberalised.
Mr Yassin was quoted in the company’s 2016 financial report as banking his profit growth hopes on Terminal Three, which according to Works, Transport and Communication minister Makame Mbarawa will be completed by early next year.
He said upon the completion of the facility, which will be capable of accommodating 6.5 million would-be travellers annually, well above Terminal Two’s 2.5 million travellers, will significantly reverse the situation.
The company looks forward to capitalising on the new infrastructure to improve efficiency.
“There have been many changes in macroeconomic aspects and we hope the aviation industry will adapt and respond well to the changes,” he said.