Director General NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe in a handshake with the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Rabiu Yadudu at the end of the even
The Director General of the National Council for Art and Culture, NCAC, and President World Craft Council, Otunba Segun Runsewe has stressed the need for a regular and effective monitoring of all airlines in the country to ensure that the aircraft are in good conditions.
In his keynote lecture at the maiden edition of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, National Aviation Conference, FNAC held at the International Conference centre Abuja, Runsewe said the relevant authorities must carry out checks on the aircraft before take-off and at arrival to minimize the level of risks by avoiding any technical loophole.
He noted that this will greatly boost the confidence of air travellers and project the international image and reputation of the Nigerian Aviation sector.
He said it is strongly recommended that these regulatory bodies should be fully and adequately funded and empowered with appropriate regulatory policies to support their performance.
Speaking during the lecture with the theme: ‘Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure and Profitable Air Transport’, Runsewe stated that the theme underscores the critical importance of the Aviation Industry to the socio-economic development of any nation.
He emphasised that for the aviation industry to successfully and profitably drive the development of any nation, it must be safe, secure, reliable and enjoy the confidence of air transport users.
He emphasised that the development of effective air transportation would have multiplier effects on the development of the tourism sector and the economy as a whole.
Runsewe pointed out that as Nigeria aspire to harness the huge economic benefits in its vast tourism potential and take advantage of the huge global funds in the tourism sector, she must constantly update facilities in the air transportation system that is a key driver of its economy.
According to him, “it is evident that the air transportation sector and tourism sector are closely inter-related. They both facilitate economic development, create wealth, employment and therefore of great impact to the Gross Domestic Product of any nation”.
NCAC boss explained that
Nigeria has great potential in several tourism sectors such as ecotourism, cultural tourism, business tourism, beach tourism, conference tourism.
He said these areas should be well developed and strengthened to attract tourists to our destinations.
Funds, in terms of grants and loans at concessionary interest rates should be given to tourism industry players to develop and upgrade their facilities to international standard, Runsewe said.
Runsewe advised that government should provide the enabling environment for private sector investment in the tourism industry, stressing that this will make the industry viable enough to attract domestic and international tourists to her numerous tourist destinations.
On Airport Hotels, Runsewe explained that the current practice worldwide is to locate standard hotels within the airports for passengers who are connecting from one destination to another and those who are unable to meet their flight schedule for one reason or the other.
He said it is recommended that good hotels with up-to-date facilities should be built within our international airports to cater for the needs of our tourists and other visitors.
On the need for a strong National Carrier, the NCAC boss noted that through several international and domestic airlines operate in Nigeria, the nation has not had a national carrier since 2003 when the Nigerian Airways ceased to exist.
In his words: “For a country as large and as endowed as Nigeria, a national carrier is necessary to boost the Nigerian air transportation system and positively project our national image by flying the Nigerian National Flag at both international and domestic airspaces.
It is however heartwarming that the Buhari – led administration has put in place the appropriate framework for the establishment of a national carriers for Nigeria to be called Air Nigeria. The operating license has just been granted and Air Nigeria is set for a prompt take-off. When fully operational, the national carrier should serve as a reference point for safety standard, reliability and efficiency in service delivery.
He maintained that the Nigeria national carrier will further boost air transportation in Nigeria, contribute significantly in enhancing easy and speedy access of tourists to their destinations through connecting flights to states and tourist destinations.
The DG pointed out that while the commissioning of additional terminals in some of our airports is a step in the right direction, the general opinion of aviation experts is that terminals in all international airports in Nigeria should have apron spaces wide enough to accommodate widebody aircrafts like Boeing 787, Dreamliner 777, 747, Airbus A380.
It is therefore strongly recommended that space should be a major consideration in the location, design and construction of international airports terminals, Runsewe added.
He observed that good maintenance culture will go a long way in constantly keeping the facilities in the airports in good conditions.
He said adequate attention should be paid to the maintenance of the infrastructural facilities at the airport.
In his words: “Repairs or replacement of facilities should be promptly carried out in order to maximize the comfort and experience of tourists in our airports”.
On the training and retraining of aviation workers, the NCAC boss observed that the Aviation sector is a very delicate one, requiring maximum care and attention, noting that
a minor lapse can be a source of great risk and embarrassment.
“In the light of this, workers in the sector must be well-grounded about their schedule of duties and exercise utmost care and caution in handling their jobs. This requires constant training and retraining of Aviation workers like the pilots, carbin crew members, weather forecast engineers, airport and airline staff members, members of all the regulatory agencies and those directly or indirectly connected with the air transportation chain’, Runsewe stated.