Agility’s National Aviation Services (NAS) is the fastest growing aviation services provider in emerging markets. It offers passenger, ramp and cargo handling, along with training, lounge operations, aviation security, meet-and-greet service and other value-added services. NAS operates at 16 airports in the Middle East, Africa and India, including Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al-Khaimah, Al-Dhafra, Nairobi, Kigali and Mumbai. NAS recently was named “Best Emerging Markets Airport Ground Handler” at the Emerging Markets Airport Awards for the third consecutive year. Tradelanes talked to NAS CEO Hassan El-Houry about industry trends and aviation opportunities in emerging markets countries.
Tradelanes: How is the business of delivering aviation services in emerging markets -- say, in Kigali, Rwanda or Mumbia, India – different than in a European or North American airport?
While the core service offering is quite similar across the world, the industry is very different for service providers in North America and Europe than for their counterparts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. At the macro-level, the industry in emerging markets is not as highly regulated as it is in North America and Europe. We tend to have more flexibility with the regulators and airport authorities – which is usually quite positive for us and our airline customers. In addition, there are fewer competitors in our region and within each airport. This allows us to have a closer relationship with our customers and the airport authority, and elevates our profile within the airport as a critical component in the success of the airport. We are often asked to undertake activities that our American or European counterparts would not normally do, such as airport marketing, some cargo services, labor services, terminal maintenance, cleaning and security. This is also the result of limited budgets for airports within our geography and the cumbersome government processes to introduce specialized service providers for these services.