President, African Business Aviation Association, Mr.Nick Fadugba, President Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, Dr, Gbenga Olowo, Managing Director/CEO,, Medview Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, Chief Executive, Topbrass Aviation, Captain Roland Iyayi and Chairman, League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents [LAAC], Mr. Olusegun Koiki during the 23rd edition of LAAC Annual Conference/Awards held at the Raddison Blu Hotel, Ikeja on Wednesday.
The Chief Executive Officer of African Aviation Services Limited, Mr. Nick Fadugba has urged African airlines to work together through inter-lining, code-sharing, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions so as to form stronger carriers that can compete effectively and can grow and prosper.
In his presentation at the 2019 LAAC seminar in Lagos on Wednesday with the theme: Boosting aviation investments through policy, Fadugba said Africa needs a safe, reliable, efficient and profitable air transport industry that facilitates business, trade and tourism across the continent, and between Africa and the world.
He said African Governments and regulators need to provide an enabling environment that will attract investment.
Nick Fadugba who is also the Chairman of African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) and Advisor to the Association of African Aviation Training Organisations (AATO) noted that Aviation in Nigeria, if properly harnessed, could become one of the keys to Nigeria’s future prosperity.
He said the Murtala Muhammed International Airport needs to be pulled down completely for a brand new and a befitting terminal.
He lamented the situation where a passenger cannot get a taxi connecting the international and local airport.
Fadugba noted that the situation in which over 90percent of international air traffic to and from Nigeria is carried by non-Nigerian airlines is damaging to the economy in several ways, such as the huge capital flight from Nigeria, the continued deterioration of the Nigerian aviation industry and the loss of skilled aviation employment opportunities.
In his words: “I support the federal government’s plan to launch a new national carrier with minority Government shareholding – if it is done transparently and skilfully. Of course, there are many potential risks and success will take time.
To succeed, the proposed new national airline needs a sound business plan, strategic industry partners, adequate funding, an experienced management team, well-trained staff, a fleet of modern aircraft, a comprehensive route network, on-time performance and good customer service.
Good governance and no government involvement in the management of the airline will be essential.
The Government should also create a conducive environment for other local airlines to flourish in Nigeria alongside the new national carrier”.
Speaking also, the chief executive officer of Topbrass Aviation and former managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Captain Roland Iyayi said airlines will continue continue to fail until the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA begins to do their due diligence.
He decried the situation where the country do not have policies and the NCAA do not have policies that are constant .
Iyayi lamented that the country has individuals holding key positions in government with little knowledge of the industry.
He said Nigeria needs to address some of these major issues by putting policies in place.
TopBrass boss observed that the airlines can thrive in the country because of the size of the market.
In the area of boosting aviation investments through policy, Iyayi explained that for Nigeria to grow aviation, there has to be a deliberate and consistent policy geared towards ensuring that the airlines who are the primary players in the industry can actually survive.
He stated that: “That you have airlines failing is not because they can’t run the airlines, it is because the environment in which they operate is extremely harsh and not even conducive for growth. You heard some of the presenters talking about charges in the industry, we have multiplicity of charges in the industry that are inconsistent with the purpose of growing the industry. On one hand we have government agencies that are supposed to be cost recovery agencies been geared to grow their IGR , that is an inconsistent objective with the industry growth.
Iyayi explained further that: “Essentially I am saying let us stay consistent , lets focus, lets look at the issues and focus on the issues, put a framework in place to address those issues, allow the industry enough air to breathe so it can grow.
“When you put a policy framework in place, it is assumed to be proactive because you are looking at the issues and you are proffering solutions by way of articulating a chart of course, to say this is the part we are going to thread over the next number of years to be able to see that we can grow a particular segment or segments of the industry and stay consistent with it. Not to say we have done it for few weeks and then say it is not aligning with what we want, so we change it. If you have inconsistencies you can never see the benefit of any policy you put in place”.