… charges operators to curb challenges via merger, aircraft leasing
The Nigerian aviation industry requires a well-orchestrated recovery plan supported by the government and the external agencies to overcome its current challenges and compete favourably in the new order.
The sector at present required direct injection of continued financial support, provision of credits, offer of deferrals and discounts on charges and most especially concessions.
These were the views of the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Capt. Alkali Modibbo, at a recent conference organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with the theme: Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Management, Policy and Regulation.’
Modibbo said the sector needed the cooperation of all to wriggle out of the current challenges, caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
He lamented that globally, the airline sub-sector was facing a “throat-cutting” competition especially from low-cost airlines amidst dwindling passengers due to the pandemic, stressing that airlines on the African continent were worst hit by the crisis.
In Nigeria, he bemoaned that the airline sub-sector continued to face unpredictable cost, hinged on the devaluation of naira against the international currencies and irregular availability of aviation fuel, regretting that these among others, added up to the operational and technical cost of airlines.
He added: “As a result, operational services deteriorated when normal flight services were resumed, followed by frequent scheduled flight challenges and exorbitant ticket prices. This could be a symptom of the larger financial strain that airlines currently face.
“Fortunately here in Nigeria the airlines are tremendously picking up tempo with an encouraging passenger turn out.
“Governments and donor institutions should provide the funds to ensure the survival and the business continuity of key stakeholders of the aviation industry as recommended by the African Aviation Industry Group (AAIG) in 2020.”
Modibbo, however, lauded the federal government for investing in infrastructure across the various airports, despite the plans to privatise or concession the aerodromes.
He charged the operators to emulate their counterparts across the globe by adopting merger and aircraft leasing to help address the challenges of competitiveness and financial capacities, standardisation of sanitation and safety issues and norms to increase customer confidence.
At NCAT, he posited that the institution needed to upgrade its curriculum in tune with the current situation of heightened operations, security, sanitation and the digital transformation of the industry.
“We need to look deeply into the changes, which the aviation value chain is undergoing, to enable us to design the training requirements that will critically produce the workforce a post-pandemic aviation industry will require,” he added.
Capt. Alkali Modibbo, NCAT Rector