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Experts seek review of aviation policies

By on November 10, 2015

Aviation industry experts have called on the federal government to review the policies that inhibit air transport development in Nigeria.

They insisted that any policy that does not encourage growth of domestic carriers and manpower development must be reviewed, adding that Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) in other parts of the world was meant to empower domestic airlines and boost their revenue, whereas in Nigeria, it gives head start gains to international carriers.

Managing Director of Top Brass and a former CEO of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Roland Iyayi noted that most of the prevailing policies guiding the industry were copycats of other countries and therefore do not take cognizance of the peculiar problems of the sector in Nigeria.

Iyayi and others spoke during a seminar held to mark the 90 years of aviation in Nigeria, where he also noted that some of policies that were put in place are policies not necessarily relevant for Nigerian or the industry needed them but because Nigeria is trying to copy what is happening in other developed markets.

“We need to retrace our steps, manage the distortions we have created and then put in place policies that will ensure growth, and part of that is ensuring that we don’t allow just anybody to come into the industry because they want to set up an airline”, he cautioned.

He suggested that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should not license an airline that is coming to create a destructive competition in the market, but the ones that would enable airlines operating in the right capacities and not to charge outrageous fares.

Speaking on the challenges bedevilling the industry, he said: “The major markets in Nigeria are not where we fly to today but that is where we have all the raw materials. If people will come in and invest in Nigeria in form of foreign direct investment, they will go to areas where we have the resources and if you don’t have the market access to those resources, then, we will be discouraging investors from coming into Nigeria.”

Also, the Executive Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison said that government and its agencies in the industry should review downwards the charges leveled on local airlines, noting that the charges, the high cost of fuel and other operational costs leave the airlines without profits.

He said almost 40 per cent of the tickets paid by customers today at N20, 000 go into agency charges, adding that while 60 per cent of that amount come to the airlines N8, 000 go to pay tariffs and taxes.

He therefore urged the government to initiate policies that are geared towards creating employment opportunities for Nigerians and also empowering the domestic airlines in order to have robust and growth oriented aviation industry.