By Nosa Aituamen
Airline operators in Nigeria say, over N4.3 billion is lost annually because of lack of facilities to operate 24 hours flight daily to certain airports in Nigeria.
Speaking at the 26th annual conference of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos in a paper entitled: ‘Maximising Runway Utilisation: A Nigerian Airline Perspective,’ one of the operators, Mr. George Uriesi said, domestic airlines lose an average of N4 million per flight, N12 million in every flight, N360 million in 90 flights and N4.3 billion annually on every flight lost to sunset airport operations.
The aim of the Conference is to x-ray the economy and safety implications of the restriction of flights to certain airports after sunset on airline operations.
The Chief Operating Officer of one of the domestic airlines, Mr. George Uriesi said, the lack of 24 hours flight operations was impeding the growth of the airlines and had led to a huge underutilisation of aircraft fleets as against the global industry standards.
He emphasized that, to meet the needs of the airlines and the flying public, government should prioritise airfield infrastructure and provide the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS) and accompanying accessories to keep the airports running.
“This is due partly because of too many impediments in the operating environment that limit airline productivity.
“These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others.”
In his paper, entitled: ‘Passenger Experience In Daylight Airports,’ Prof. Anthony kila of the Centre Director at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS), stated that, the situation needed to be handled swiftly and decisive actions taken which would require a total rethink and resetting of the way aviation matters are conceived and managed.
“The deep and hurting reality is that we have an aviation crisis and emergency in our hands in this country. It is a crisis because high cost of flights and shutting down of airlines in a country as big as ours in the times we live in looks very bad and it is leading to serious disruptions. It is an emergency because we cannot afford to let the situation play out itself and we cannot be patient and wait for long term solutions”.
He urged the regulatory agent to help in the growth trajectory of the airlines without relegating safety, rather than slamming them with suspension.
Former President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA and chairman of the event, Mr. Bankole Bernard, in his opening remarks warned that the continuous rise of dollar against naira would spell doom for the industry.
He insisted that the situation was scary for all business entities in the country and appealed to the government to force a change.
“There is no better time than now to discuss this topic because I believe that as we go on, we will deliberate on the way forward to ensure that we raise the standards and ensure economic growth in our airports and the industry in general”.
The theme of the LAAC Conference is: Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications’.