Aviation In Nigeria: Stakeholders Berate Government Over Aviation Sector Woes

L-R: Engr.  Kayode Ajiboye, former Director, Airworthiness Standards, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA; Dr Allen Onyema, Chairman Air Peace; Dr Gbenga Olowo, Outgoing President, ASRTI/ART Network; Senator Musa Adede, CEO, Kings Airline and Chairman of the Occassion; Mr Kabir Muhammed, MD, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Eng Taoheed Odunowo, MD, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency at the Aviation Roundtable Q2 2023 Brunch Business Meeting themed: Aviation Reset: Agenda for A New Administration (Increasing the Numbers) held in Lagos on Tuesday

Again, the federal government has been found liable for the woes, and crisis that have bedevilled the Nigeria’s aviation sector. The latest castigation came from stakeholders at the Aviation Round Table (ART) breakfast meeting, which held in Lagos on Tuesday.

Sen. Musa Adede, the CEO King Airlines, accused, Princess Stella Oduah and Sen. Hadi Sirika, past two aviation ministers of ‘killing’ the industry through their actions and inactions, stressing that the sector needed newer ideas to compete. He also condemned the planned reestablishment of a national carrier for Nigeria by the past administration, saying that the idea was no longer in vogue.

“As it is, there is no unity among the airline operators either scheduled, chartered or helicopters. They are all working in isolation. The aviation ministry too is not helping the industry to grow. Our airports are very dirty.

“The former ministers in the sector, especially Oduah and Sirika who claimed to be captains have killed the sector. Our ministers have sold out in drafting the agreements with foreign airlines and governments.” For the sector to compete with others, Adede opined that the airline sub-sector required about N50 billion support from the government.

He also pointed out that the policy of renewing Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) for airlines every three years by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was archaic, stressing that in developed countries, the certificates are held for live.

“NCAA is still archaic. They are not computer literate and not compliance. They ask you for volumes of documents that they will never read,” he added.

Also speaking, Barr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, said that the policies of the government contributed to the quick death of the domestic airlines.

Onyema explained that the airline in the first half of 2023, had lost 18 aircraft to bird strike incidents without any compensation by the government. According to him, Air Peace within the year, lost two aircraft to bird strike incidents in one day at Benin Airport, adding that one of its newly acquired Embraer 195 E2 was lost to the same incident.

He said that the airline spent $3.2 million to replace the damaged parts of the aircraft. Besides, he said that the recent statistics of flight delays and cancellations reeled out by NCAA put the domestic airlines in the bad light.

According to him, the apex body in aviation was silent on the reasons for high flight delays and cancellations by the domestic operators. Onyema mentioned VIP movement, poor and inadequate infrastructure, forex, fuelling and weather, among other challenges that contributed to flight delays and cancellations in Nigeria.

“Bring the best airlines into Nigeria and without any government support, they will not last 72 hours. Is it the duty of the airline operators to start chasing wildlife?

“Air Peace this year alone has lost 18 aircraft to bird strike incidents. When we are criticizing the airlines on delays and cancellations, we should also look at the causes of the delays and cancellations. How about the congestions at our airports? Go to Abuja airport and find out some of these challenges.”, he said.

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