The LAAC Conference: Stakeholders push for effective aviation policy

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Eminent players in the Nigeria aviation industry have collectively stated that government, as an entity, needs to do more as well as take decisive steps in growing the Nigerian the airlines in particular and air transport sector in general by providing an enabling business environment that will attracts investments.

Their wake up call for the government to enact sustainable policies and programmes towards developing, growing and sustaining the industry for better performance came to the fore at the 23rd Annual Conference and Awards of The League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) held yesterday in Lagos.

Delivering the keynote speech on the conference themed, “Boosting Aviation Investment through Policy”, the former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, emphasized on the need for a stable legal and regulatory frameworks to grow the air transport sector in Nigeria.

Speaking through the president of Aviation Round Table (ART), Elder Gabriel Olowo, Demuren decried the multiple entry points for foreign airlines, describing it as “disastrous and deliberate annihilation of the domestic market.”

A situation where some airlines fly to multiple airports in Nigeria without any Nigerian airline reciprocating such is “a negative balance of trade,” he added.

According to him, it is high time government reflected on the national aviation policy.

“The essence of regulation is not only about safety. We have failed with economic regulations. This is a major weakness,” he said.

Engr. Demuren called for positive investments driven policies to develop the aviation sector, saying, “Nigeria’s problem is because we make policies but they somersault.

He said government must design objective and key performance indices that are measurable for civil servants.

Chief Executive officer of African Aviation Services, Mr. Nick Fadugba one of the stakeholders

In his contribution the Chief Executive Officer of African Aviation Services, Mr. Nick Fadugba said that aviation can be a vital catalyst for economic growth and social advancement of Africa; Nigeria could tap into this by providing more support to the growth of the increasingly important African business and general aviation industry, which are tools for economic development.

According to him, aviation in Nigeria, if properly harnessed, could become one of the keys to Nigeria future prosperity.

He decried the situation where, “over 90% of international air traffic to and from Nigeria is carried by foreign Nigerian airlines, causing damage to the economy in several ways like the huge capital flight from Nigeria, the continued deterioration of the Nigerian aviation industry and the loss of skilled aviation employment opportunities.”

Fadugba also lamented that in the last 25 years, the Nigeria carriers passenger traffic has reduced from 60% to 20% calling government to review Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and also consult with indigenous carriers before allowing frequencies as they are treated like oil blocks.

Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, Chairman and Managing Director, Medview Airline Limited in his contribution posited that aviation is indispensable to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria.

According to him, “the liquidation of Nigeria Airways put a serious stumbling block on the development of  aviation in Nigeria.”

Among those who attended the event included Managing Directors of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu; Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu; Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT),Captain Muhammed Abdulsalam.

The August gathering was also attended by Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema; Managing Director, Top Brass Airline, Captain Roland Iyayi; Chief Executive Officer, African Aviation Services Limited, Mr. Nick Fadugba; Country Manager of Emirate Airlines, Afzal Parambil; Country Manager of Ethiopian Airlines; Firiehiewot Mekonne; among others.

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