Airlines are increasingly turning to companies offering ground handling services as a way of improving the speed, efficiency and accuracy of their operations, says Manel-Ximenes Soares, air operations manager of SDV in Timor-Leste.
"Using ground handling services means that airlines and
helicopter companies do not need to invest in special equipment and in the
recruitment and training of ground handling staff," Soares adds. "Outsourcing
ground handling is a cost-effective option that boosts the security of
Ground handling covers a wide range of services including
passenger check-ins, the calculation of the weight and balance of the aircraft
and passenger boarding. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an
association of airlines, estimates that airlines now outsource over half of the
ground handling that takes place at airports around the world and that the trend
SDV has handled ground services in Timor-Leste, Southeast
Asia, for the past 12 years. Its clients include New Zealand-based airline
Vincent Aviation and national carrier Air France as well as U.S. energy group
Conoco Phillips and Italian oil services group Saipem.
SDV has 21 staff
dedicated to ground handling in Timor-Leste, an oil-rich nation that won
independence from Indonesia in 2002. Based in the Presidente Nicolau Lobato
International Airport in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, SDV employees are
easily identified by their light blue uniforms, Soares says.
handling services include the checking in of passengers, luggage and cargo, the
boarding of passengers and luggage and the issuance of passenger and cargo
manifests. Special services for oil and gas companies include the safety
screening of bags and passengers as well as alcohol and drug tests for offshore
SDV also provides so-called "meet and greet" services at Dili
airport that help passengers with arrival and departure formalities such as
clearing immigration and customs and paying airport taxes.
arrange the payment of all charges for passengers, meaning that they do not have
to worry about bringing the right amounts of cash and then claiming back
expenses," says Soares. SDV also organizes transfers from airports to hotels and
can arrange the booking and payment of hotels and restaurants.
unusual for logistics providers to offer ground handling services to airlines.
SDV’s Timor-Leste branch is the only country in the SDV group to offer such
services, for example. However, Rafael Ribeiro, managing director for SDV in
Timor-Leste, is confident of the future, especially as the government has plans
to expand the airport with the support of private investors.
considerable business opportunities in Timor-Leste," says Ribeiro. "We want to
be part of the country’s future development."