The urgency to review Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) between Nigeria and other countries once again played up at a recent aviation webinar when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), African Aviation Services and Chairman of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), Nick Fadugba, recommended that the federal government reviews Nigeria’s BASAs immediately.
Fadugba while speaking at the webinar organised by Aelex, a law firm in Nigeria, said that the current COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to develop a new Aviation Blueprint for Nigeria which could enable the Country to fulfil its full aviation potential if properly implemented.
He said: “Federal Government of Nigeria should introduce a more enabling regulatory environment for the aviation industry by immediately reviewing Nigeria’s BASAs. Currently, the multiple entry points and frequencies of foreign airlines are commercially disadvantageous to Nigerian airlines and do not achieve fair reciprocity.”
He also called 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 urged the new Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, to achieve the same success in airline industry financial and operational oversight as was achieved in aviation safety by former NCAA Director General, Dr. Harold Demuren.
Fadugba recommended that Nigerian airlines should revise their current business plans with greater emphasis on unit cost, load factor and yield citing example of Ethiopian Airlines’ Vision 2025 Strategic Road Map; 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.
He posited a priority more on co-operations in key areas such as joint training, Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO), spares pooling, joint operations, interlining, code-sharing, and win-win partnerships.
On infrastructure, Fadugba recommended the construction of a new purpose-built airport terminal 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,” he said.
According to him, the proposed building of a second runway in Abuja provides a unique opportunity to establish a free port zone aerotropolis to develop aviation-related businesses.
Fadugba noted that strong airport hubs are the key to air transport connectivity, which stimulates economic growth; and that modern and fully operational air transport navigation systems in Nigeria are vital for efficient services.
He noted that business and general aviation are critical to economic development and, therefore, should be part of the focus of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the African Union (AU), as well as airlines. “For example, business and general aviation are not included in the AU’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). Business aircraft are an important business tool and not simply luxury transport,” he said.
“AfBAA is advocating the implementation in Africa of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and International Standard for Business Aircraft Handlers (IS-BAH), similar to IATA’s IOSA policy, to achieve global standards in Africa’s business and general aviation industry,” he disclosed.
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