NIgerian Aviation industry panelists and discussants have called on the players in the industry especially government agencies, ground handlers and airlines to think out of the box, rejig and adjust with the current situation so as to remain relevant.
They stressed the need for every business to review its processes and operations
In a communique issued at the end of the recent Webinar Conference organised by the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC with the theme: Nigerian Aviation industry: Changing times changing strategies, the panellists and discussants made up of chief executive officers of aviation agencies, airlines and other stakeholders called on the organisations in the sector to synergise to fight the pandemic in the country.
While observing that security check-ins are still very cumbersome at the airports, the stakeholders tasked the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN to device a means of reducing contacts between its personnel and air travellers in order to minimise the risk of contacting Covid-19 virus at the airport.
The discussants also advised FAAN and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA to ensure total safety of passengers and airport users once the industry is re-opened, while air travellers were encouraged to embrace technology by procuring their tickets online to reduce human contacts at airports.
The stakeholders urged the airlines to show their level of readiness towards resumption of flight services by carrying out test run of their facilities before the airports are reopened including government agencies involved in airport facilitation.
The seminar also called for all the different check points – for passport, narcotics, currency and others to be harmonised and collapsed into three at an airport.
Other resolution reached at the Webinar conference include: That organisations should invest in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in order to reduce passenger facilitation and boarding. as Annex 9 of the ICAO standard and recommended practices recommends only 30 minutes.
That FAAN, NCAA, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT and others should start to think of how they can support businesses so that they can become stabilised post Covid-19 era
That bailout for organisations in the industry i.e. airlines, agencies, ground handlers, catering is required to kick-start businesses in the sector
That organisations in the sector should synergise to fight the pandemic in our country
Others recommendations contained in the communique include, the need for flexible slot system in order to accommodate the interest of every stakeholder.
The need for airlines and other stakeholders to manage uncertainties in order to stay resilient and reduce job losses
That Indigenous airlines should take advantage of domestic cargo in order to recoup losses
That there should be deliberate efforts aimed at increasing the nation’s exports by air especially in agriculture, not just in oil and gas
That there is need to reduce the number of staff on duty in order to reduce possibility of personnel contracting Covid-19 at work
That airlines should embrace codeshare, ticket transfer, interlining, local BSP.
That the federal government should provide single digit loans and Forex for the airlines to cushion operational cost
It also recommended that palliatives or bailout for airlines and other organisations should be to support staff salaries, whose means of livelihood is presently at risk while the civil servants in the system should encourage business growth and consider investors as partners in progress
The panellists also pointed out that plan to leave the middle seats empty will not encourage business growth, but will encourage rise in the price of air tickets and reduce potential air travellers instead.
They urged FAAN to extend airport operational hours for airlines to take advantage of it and maximise their earnings
While also calling on the industry to be made attractive to investors, they also stressed the need to insitutionalise corporate governance, transparency, policy consistency and adherence to the rule of law
The discussant concluded by asking FAAN to install toilet facilities that are sensors compliant to reduce touching of taps by users