- COVID-19 impacts $994 million loss to Nigeria’s aviation in 2020
Experts in the aviation industry brainstormed on myriads of problems besetting the aviation industry in Nigeria with a view to solving some of the problems.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who was represented by Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Akin Olateru spoke at a one day seminar titled, “Nigeria’s aviation industry: Management, Policy and Regulation”, held in Lagos.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Aviation in conjunction with the aviation agencies were working with the National Assembly to review/amend all the aviation agencies’ Acts to provide effective management of services and align with modern technological development in line with international best practices and development in International Civil Aviation.
The two Legislative Houses have held public hearings on the matter and at the stage of finalisation of their Report. The review of the Acts include the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Act (NCAA) 2006; Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Act 2010; Nigeria Airspace Management Agency Act 1999; Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, 1964; Nigerian Meteorological Act, 2003; and Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau Act, 2019.
Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu lamented the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the global aviation industry, stressing that it would take the country another 24 months or more for the sector to regain full recovery.
He further stated that to achieve that, aviation policy formulators must engage in policy engineering and make great financial decisions to get out of the woods.
He equally stated that to do that successfully, all the aviation agencies and other support services would need government relief and financial intervention from the Federal Government.
His words, “Without financial relief, I do not see a quick recovery. We need aggressive policy and we need to do much more on implementation that is very aggressive. As you are aware Covid-19 has put the global economy to the test, with air transport being undoubtedly the hardest hit by the pandemic”.
This is coming as statistics from the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) on COVID-19’s economic impact on Nigeria has revealed a revenue loss of $994 million in 2020.
In terms of employment at risk in Nigeria, it is 125,370 and loss of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $885 million.
The Federal Government was able to cushion the effect of COVID – 19 by providing intervention funds of N5 Billion domestic airlines; funds considered paltry to save airlines from their precarious situation.
Speaking on behalf of airlines, Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema lamented the devastating effects of COVID-19 on airlines and the aviation industry at large, stating that Nigeria was not immuned from the pandemic.
According to him, “A lot has been said about airlines in Nigeria. Lack of good regulations and policies have been blamed for the myriad of problems confronting the sector. Things are evolving. We hope it will be better. Why are airlines failing? Could it be from the airlines themselves and other factors?
Onyema hinted that a lot of people have blamed airlines collapse because of faulty structures of airlines occasioned by decisions that are injurious to the carriers without knowing it.
“Government policies in the recent past had been better compared to what we had in the past. The present government has done well in the area of policy such as customs duty waiver on aircraft spare parts and VAT and others that are favourable to the airlines’”, he further stated.
Chairman, Mish Aviation Limited, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia urged FAAN to start thinking of arriving at a fair levy for the services the aviation agency provides to operators, adding that the huge burden of cost of operations would enjoy a degree of relief to the airlines.
He said, “We should also start thinking of a very fair operational ground that will allow airlines to register to handle themselves to taste. The idea to patronise the handling companies is a great value chain activity. However, sometimes some of these companies do not measure up to the niche or standard of airlines and have caused many to lose their passengers”.
“It would be a brilliant idea to allow airlines that can certify themselves to handle themselves provided they meet CAA standard”.