A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Roland Iyayi, has advised government to enact policies that will support growth inthe aviation sector. He sought the establishment of a strong national carrier like the liquidated Nigeria Airways. Iyayi noted that only 15 million passengers travelled by air out of a population of 170 million, which accounts for only 10 per cent. He explained that due to cash crunch and financial status of many Nigerians, very few people take to air travel.
The situation has made people to embrace road transportation despite the bad state of roads in the country that has claimed several lives. This has made aviation to contribute a paltry 0.4 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to South Africa with more than two per cent contribution to the nation’s GDP. Iyayi, who is the Managing Director, Top Brass Aviation, stressed that out of the 26 airports in the country, 80.2 per cent of the total traffic passed through Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt airports.
He noted: “I scarcely see any major airline in the country today that will survive the next three years except that there is a major injection of capital. “The promoters of airlines don’t take time to study the market. So, they need to think outside the box and find new ways to make the industry to grow.”
The former NAMA boss equally stated that airlines operating in the country were in a destructive competition, adding that the carriers had not been able to maximise the huge potential of the aviation sector in generating employment and contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).