Aviation industry experts say, airlines will prosper in Nigeria, if they review their business model especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is just as they called on the Federal Government to lobby the African Development Bank, AfDB, to prioritise and fund aviation sector initiatives in Nigeria.
The experts at an ongoing Aviation Cargo and Export conference in Lagos, also harped on the need for all government ministries to see aviation as a national project to grow the country’s economy.
In a paper presentation entitled: The viability of Airports in Nigeria and why airlines fail, Former Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mr. Richard Aisuebogun says, when airlines are doing well, it increases the fortunes of the airports.
But unfortunately, over the years, many airlines have closed shop due to management issues, policy somersault, unstable forex and high operational cost like the osciilating price of aviation fuel, aircraft maintenance, among others.
He also emphasized that, poor airport infrastructure not only hamper the revenue of the airports but also the airlines.
“We have to increase our investment in Airport infrastructure to make our airports meet global standards, we have to implement the aviation road safety map that has been formed by several Minister’s that have come and gone, lets go beyond talk shop, lets begin to implement”.
An Aviation consultant Dr. Daniel Young said, airlines should look at other opportunities outside their immediate operating environment like flying into the west coast.
“Rather than concentrating all their fleet on domestic, they should take advantage of BASA we have signed and then start operating regional flights because that is where I think the money is”.
A senior advocate of Nigeria and an aviation consultant, Mr. Fubara Anga stated that, the airlines would thrive if government rethink reducing the taxes as palliative to the operators and make aviation central to national development goals, plans and aspirations.
“The solution is for aviation in Nigeria not to be treated as just a single enterprise, it should be coordinated with so many others things. Nigeria airlines and allied services has to be supported through the instrumentality of state but certainly not by giving them handout and not be giving them loans”.
Organizer of the conference, Mr. Ikechi Uko explained that, the purpose of the conference was not only to identify challenges airlines and airports were grappling with but to proffer workable solutions by critical stakeholders to assist government come up with policies that would help to build a safe, profitable and secured industry.