South Africa’s largest ground handling company, BidAir Services will be changing hands. National Aviation Services (NAS), Colossal Africa and a consortium comprised of the current executive management team have signed an agreement to acquire BidAir Services from the Bidvest Group. The closing of the acquisition is subject to fulfilling final requirements from the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) that manages South African airports as well as other regulatory approvals.
BidAir Services provides quality-handling services including passenger and ramp handling, load control and operations, cleaning, toilet and water services, amongst others at nine South African airports. The airports include three main international gateways – O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, Cape Town International and King Shaka International in Durban. BidAir’s clientele of over 28 major airlines includes international carriers such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France, Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir.
Once the transaction is complete and regulatory approvals are obtained, BidAir Services will join the largest airport services network in Africa – NAS. Discussing the acquisition, Hassan El-Houry, Group CEO of NAS said: “NAS prides itself on its global expertise and local knowledge. We believe that the success of the aviation industry in Africa is tied to its economic prosperity and have made significant investments into the industry across the continent. We look forward to adding BidAir Services, the largest South African ground handling company to our expanding network.”
NAS and Colossal Africa are committed to investing into the development of facilities and infrastructure, latest equipment, technology, recruitment and training. Green technology and paperless digital platforms will also be an important part of the operational landscape. The inclusion of the executive management team as part of the acquiring group will also ensure that there is a smooth transition to the new owners with no disruption to the excellent services that BidAir clients have become accustomed.
El-Houry emphasized: “BidAir Services is known for its excellent customer service. With its experienced management team and dedicated workforce, we can add value by reinforcing its capabilities, training and investment into the company to further enhance its position in the local market. With NAS, Colossal Africa and BidAir Services joining hands, we will ensure the highest level of airport handling services in South Africa.”
Following the acquisition, NAS will also focus on training to develop the knowledge and skills of local South African youth while offering more employment opportunities and career options with an emphasis on employment equity. One of the key offerings will also include the integration of IT and healthcare to support civil aviation and government authorities during emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 2003, NAS is one of the leading aviation service providers in 20 countries across Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.
El-Houry added: “NAS is the largest ground handler in Africa and this acquisition will further cement our position in the continent’s largest market. We will be growing our footprint with a presence in over 55 airports, managing more than 50 lounges with over 8,000 employees of 65 different nationalities at the core of our worldwide network.”
Cingashe Motale, Director of Colossal Africa highlighted: “As a 100% black-women owned (BWO) Investment Holdings company – managed and operating in the South African market – our strategy focuses on the development of local capabilities while building a globally competitive company through strategic acquisitions and partnerships in our chosen sectors. This transaction involves all the elements that form part of that strategy and working with a partner of such calibre as NAS puts us on a path that fits all the pieces together.”
Colossal Africa is a Level-1 B-BBEE company that focuses on identifying and investing in economically viable business opportunities in various and very strategic sectors that range from – but are not limited to – aviation, infrastructure and logistics. This acquisition in particular will allow Colossal Africa to contribute towards the sustainability of the air transport system on the African continent.