Prof. Anthony Kila, the Director, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies(CIAPS), has urged the Federal Government to establish a Bank of Aviation.
The bank, he said, was necessary to make airlines have easier access to foreign exchange.
Kila made this known at the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents’ (LAAC) 26th Annual Conference, on Thursday.
The conference, with the theme: Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications, was held in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an airline, Aero Contractors, was forced to fold the wings of its scheduled flights due to exorbitant and unsustainable expenditure, among other reasons.
Also, Dana Air was forced to suspend flight operations over poor liquidity by the regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Kila, in his presentation, titled “Passenger Experience In Daylight Airports,” said that with the present situation, it was not enough to have aviation funds from government or aviation desks in commercial banks anymore.
He said it was time to think of “activating an aviation bank that will raise and manage funds and offer niche financial products for the aviation industry”.
“With over 20 years in the industry, I can knowledgably confirm that luckily, aviation is not a pauper’s business.
“Hence, finding depositors and shareholders will not be an insurmountable problem for capable promoters, but the political will is needed.
“In the spirit of rethinking of and resting aviation, operators need to go beyond flying or selling and distributing tickets.
“it is time to represent their challenges as rewarding opportunities to capable innovators, inventors and investors.
“Maintenance of equipment, refining of aviation fuel, training and development of human capital, and other problems that are adversely affecting the sector can be thrown open to the market as opportunities for players outside the aviation sector.
“To do all these and much more, requires the ability to conceive, shape and propose rewarding and sustainable partnership between the public and private sectors,” he said
Kila also noted that NCAA, asides enhancing safety in the industry, should, for the sake of consumers and citizens, be working as a clearing house for delayed or stranded passengers.
He said that they should ensure that stranded passengers of delayed and cancelled flights could fly with the next available flights.
According to him, this is just as debit and credit card holders issued by one bank can easily withdraw money from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of any available bank.
He also urged the government through the presiding ministry and its regulating agencies in collaboration with the ministry of finance to champion the case of aviation.
The professor urged them to help make forex available and affordable to aviation operators.
Speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Bankole Bernard, in his opening remark warned that the continuous rise of dollar against naira would spell doom for the industry.
Bernard, the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, insisted that the situation was scary for all business entities in the country and appealed to the government to ensure a change.
He advised the Nigerian government to take a cue from other advanced countries where airports are open for operations for 24 hours daily, but said some factors determine this.
The managing director mentioned some of the factors to include routes, cost of operations and navigational equipment.
Bernard argued that such operations would promote tourism and business growth across the country.
He appealed to the federal government to assist the ailing domestic airlines to avoid accidents and incidents in the industry. (NAN)