The president of Sabre and Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, Dr Gbanga Olowo, has stressed the need for Nigeria to have a legal framework, stable regulatory and political environment to move forward in aviation.
Olowo who stated this in an interview with Journalists at the recent League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC Conference in Lagos with the theme : Boosting aviation investments through policy, said regulation should not be changing the way we change our cloths.
He emphasized the need for strong regulation, noting that regulation drives economics.
The president of Sabre and Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative explained that: “If we cannot run our businesses, then we will not be able to manage even ourselves. If we say Nigerian aviators cannot give birth to solid and sound Nigerian airline, that means that maybe Nigerian shouldn’t be our Governor. Nigerian shouldn’t be our President, Nigerian shouldn’t be our Legislator. But as long as Nigerian remains our President, Commissioners and Governors and Local Government Chairman, and Congress, then Nigerians are available to run airlines for us. We have all that solid resources provided the policy thrust are followed”.
Commenting on international aeropolitics and designation of Nigerian airlines on the regional and international routes, Olowo explained that aeropolitics is the grammar of politics that basically address the area of influence which is very important in politics.
Olowo stated that Nigerians in government especially the ministry of aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA must be able to influence a lot of things with its carriers.
In his words: “When our carriers approach them, they must not see them as a disruption, they must see their table as a fulfillment to what the stakeholders are asking for. For instance, if we give birth to a national carrier tomorrow, and the ministry or the CAA do not follow the objective to the later, and they just say you are designated to China or to London without influencing the way things happen at the other end with government influence, that airline won’t survive. We heard during the conference the slot that Nigeria Airways was using, how Arik couldn’t get it on time. Arik as a carrier is a player coming to compete with their own carrier, so there will be unseen resistance, despite what you call anti-competitive rule. But the influence of our government is vital.”
He explained further that: “We shouldn’t just put our own son on the stage and back out. And then begin to say our son is weak or bad, yes if it is weak and bad we have a duty to make sure that he is strong. And all the elements of that weakness, Nigerian airlines that are there have been talking about them , they are numerous. And how far has the government gone about all those issues? Fuel taxes, airport problems, airspace problem and others”.
Olowo suggested that the power of the ministry of aviation must be reduced to the very minimum as most of the time people in the ministry are political appointees.
He said:”They are politicians who represent the face of aviation to government but they don’t understand. Somebody from women affairs as the permanent secretary in aviation, how can she understand aeropolitics? So we need to reduce that ministry to the barest minimum and allow CAA to be in charge. In the US FAA is under the department of transport and FAA controls even the airspace, here we have all the big, big, office that are uncontrollable. Rather than work together they are working in different direction”.