Home » Africa: ‘Nigeria’s domestic aviation requires strong airlines with about 10 aircraft per carrier’ – Experts

Africa: ‘Nigeria’s domestic aviation requires strong airlines with about 10 aircraft per carrier’ – Experts

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Nigerian government has been advised to review it’s criteria for its airlines operations if the country must go beyond flaunting airlines that do not fit into the current aero politics and International competition.

According to a report by guardian.ng, this was part of the issues raised by the former Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Iyabo Sosina, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), African Aviation Services, Nick Fadugba, while speaking at a recent webinar forum.

They advised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to explore the possibility of having three to four local airlines that have strong fleet capacity of an average of 10 to 20 aircraft per carrier.

Iyabo Sosina , an experienced professional in airlines operation and business in Africa stated thatNigeria should get only two to four airlines for the domestic, regional and international markets but that the airlines must do better than the two-aircraft per fleet requirement of the extant civil aviation rules, and remodel their businesses to world standard while adding that achieving that starts with having a strong NCAA committed to safety, security, economic audit and appropriate strategies which to would boost the aviation sector.

She added that the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the plights of the aviation industry in Nigeria which has suffered neglect for long and recommends an overhaul of the sector to meet competition even from African countries.

She said though the industry in Nigeria had for too long been left behind, the ravaging coronavirus pandemic avails an unusual opportunity for the country to restart and be at par with other airlines in Africa.

“We have the opportunity to start on a clean slate and get it right this time because we haven’t always gotten it right, especially with the airlines,” she said. “There is need for us to reposition the aviation industry.”

Sosina advised airlines in the country to adjust their business modules and operational routines without relying on government stimulus as basis for survival.

In her words: “A question to ask is this: can the government trust the airlines to keep their own side of the bargain in such a (bailout) transaction? After all, going by the antecedent, the government has no reason to believe that the airlines will deliver.

“Therefore, the airlines must change the way they do business and this unfortunate situation we find ourselves in is a perfect motivation needed to engender the needed change. This period is a good opportunity for the airlines to reevaluate their debts, their operations and change their business models to include transparency, accountability, cooperation and collaboration.

“Gone are the days when airlines operate with impunity and believe that owing service providers and staff salaries is a business model. No business can ever survive on such a flawed belief. This is not a model used anywhere else in the world. The government doesn’t owe them (airlines) because they are private entities and this must be taken into consideration in preparing the new business plans. Airlines must also create a niche market for their operations and refocus their mission and objectives,” she added.

NickFadugba on his part, who is also the Chairman of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) recommended new ideas needful for transforming the Nigerian aviation industry .
He made them in four key areas which included regulatory environment, airlines, infrastructure and business and general aviation.

According to him,the Federal Government should immediately review Nigeria’s Bilateral Airline Service Agreements (BASAs) which will enhance a regulatory environment for the sector adding that currently, the multiple entry points and frequencies of foreign airlines are commercially disadvantageous to Nigerian airlines and do not achieve fair reciprocity.

He advocated for the reduction or elimination of multiple taxes and duties on Nigerian aircraft operators and stricter economic oversight of the airline industry with mandatory monthly reporting and publishing of financial and operational data.

Fadugba recommended that Nigerian airlines should revise their current business plans with greater emphasis on unit cost, load factor and yield. Also, to raise more equity and working capital to strengthen their balance sheets; abide by aircraft finance and lease obligations or re-negotiate, rather than default, and seek professional advice in aircraft acquisitions.

A priority is more co-operation in key areas such as joint training programmes, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), spares pooling, joint operations, interlining, code-sharing, and win-win partnerships.

On infrastructure, Fadugba advised that r a new purpose-built airport terminal be built in Lagos to enable efficient hub and spoke operations seamlessly connecting international and domestic air travel. Sufficient funding would be available based on a sound business plan.

Recall that aviation experts across the world have been laying their voices in saving the aviation sector and airlines from collapsing as the global community battles the ravaging COVID 19 pandemic.

By Francis Ogwo

SOURCE: guardian.ng

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