The Nigerian aviation industry is reeling from the effects of the global travel crisis. The country lost $994 million in expected revenue last year and is at risk of pushing over 125,370 people into unemployment along with a projected loss in GDP of $885 million. While the Federal government has made some crucial interventions, including the release of N5 billion to support the aviation industry, industry players remain vocal in their advocacy for more relief
At a recent conference in Lagos organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with the theme: “Nigeria’s aviation industry: Management, policy and regulation,” Key industry players and law makers discussed the state of the industry and progressive actions towards recovery and long-term growth
“A lot has been said about airlines in Nigeria. Lack of good regulations and policies have been blamed for the myriad of problems confronting the sector. Things are evolving. We hope it will be better. Why are airlines failing? Could it be from the airlines themselves and other factors? Asked Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema
According to the nation online media, the Minister of Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, was represented by Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Akin Olateru. Regarding an aviation industry report that is being finalized in the country’s legislative houses, he said that the ministry, in conjunction with aviation agencies, were working with the National Assembly to review and amend the agencies’ Acts in order to improve management and align with international best practices
The review and amendment initiative is targeting the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Act (NCAA) 2006; Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Act 2010; Nigeria Airspace Management Agency Act 1999; Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, 1964; Nigerian Meteorological Act, 2003; and Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau Act, 2019.
He pointed to a need for aggressive action towards transformation and sought state financial aid in moving these actions forward efficiently
“Without financial relief, I do not see a quick recovery. We need aggressive policy and we need to do much more on implementation that is very aggressive. As you are aware COVID-19 has put the global economy to the test, with air transport being undoubtedly the hardest hit by the pandemic.”
Allen Onyema commended government for actioning improved aviation policy
“Government‘s policies in the recent past had been better compared to what we had in the past. The government has done well in the area of policy such as customs duty waiver on aircraft spare parts and VAT and others that are favorable to the airlines.
“Recent government policies are better compared to what we had in the past. The government has done well in ensuring policies such as customs duty waiver on aircraft spare parts and VAT. The AON presented the issue of the partial implementation of the Finance Act 2020 which prohibits the payment of duties and VAT on imported aircraft and aircraft spares by the Customs Service to the National Assembly. There was also the presence of a seven per cent surcharge on the assessed duties which was not supposed to be. This caused delays in the clearance of aircraft and aircraft spares leading to grounding of aircraft that would have been flying.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi promised to accelerate the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR) Bill
“As soon as we resume from our recess, efforts will be made to ensure that we pass the NCAR bill before us. Aviation is the socio-economic status of any nation. It requires the support of everyone,” he said.
Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu elaborated on the efforts being made by the NCAA including reducing the Authority’s directorate from eight to six, automation of internal processes through the implementation change management and acquisition of appropriate ICT systems
Prince Saheed Lasisi, Group Executive Director, Commercial and Business Development, NAHCO (Nigerian Aviation Handling Company) , said that customer complaints were being listened to and acted upon including the creation of a new desk to allow efficient client communication and improve the Customer Experience
“Based on the survey that we carried out, we discovered our challenges especially in the areas of staff shortage, equipment and others. It is the desk that has helped us to identify the challenges and we now know how to solve them.”
NAHCO has been applauded by the industry for improved service delivery