Nigerian Airlines Lose N4.3B Annually To Sunset Airports
…As Finchglow GMD Says Rise Of Dollar Against Naira Inimical To Aviation Industry
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi has stated that domestic airlines in Nigeria lose at least N4.3 billion yearly to the restriction to operate 24 hours’ flight daily to the airports of their choice.
This is just as the Chairman of the event and the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, Mr. Bankole Bernard warned that the continuous rise of the dollar against the naira would spell doom for the industry.
While stakeholders asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to assist in the growth trajectory of airlines in the country without compromising safety, rather than giving airlines suspension.
Uriesi, who spoke at the 26th annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) on Thursday with the theme: Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications,’ in Lagos, disclosed that the lack of 24 hours’ flight operations to major routes in Nigeria was impeding the growth of the airlines.
Delivering a paper, ‘Maximising Runway Utilisation: A Nigerian Airline Perspective,’ Uriesi said that domestic airlines in the country are losing an average of N4 million per flight, N12 million in every flight, N360 million in 90 flights and N4.3 billion annually on every flight lost to sunset airport operations.
This restriction, the Ibom Air COO said has resulted to a huge under-utilisation of aircraft fleets by the Nigerian airlines as against the global industry standards.
“This is due partly because of too many impediments in the operating environment that limit airline productivity.
“These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others,” Uriesi said.
To address the challenge, he appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise airfield infrastructure and provide the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS) and accompanying accessories for every airport, while also keeping the aerodromes open to meet the needs of airlines and other users.
In addition, he advised the Federal Government to make current, approved master plans a regulatory requirement for every airport and illegalise non-adherence to the master plans by any organisation.
According to him, “Establishing a local aircraft lessor /financing vehicle that would allow for the domiciling of aircraft payments in local currency would make a huge difference to the air transport sector in Nigeria.”
Making his presentation, the Centre Director at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS), Prof. Anthony Kila in his paper: ‘Passenger Experience In Daylight Airports,’ urged NCAA to encourage the airlines to succeed without the relegation of safety.
He started that the aviation industry in the country was bedeviled with myriads of crises, adding that the high cost of flights and shutting down of airlines in a country signified a bad omen for the country.
Kila called for total rethink and resetting of aviation industry by all players in the sector.
He advocated for the establishment of Aviation Bank that would make access to Foreign Exchange(FOREX) by airlines easier.
“We need to act swiftly and decisively to deal with this situation so that this very bad situation we have at hand does not turn into an unmanageable disaster. Decisive actions in this case will require a total rethink and resetting of the way we conceive and manage our aviation manners.
“There is a prevailing idea in the general public and amongst too many leaders of thought, opinion moulders and indeed policy makers that aviation is a sector that services the elites or the privileged, this is however an anachronistic misconception that needs to be deliberately and assertively corrected.
“Those who know and can need to find the clarity of mind and courage of voice to explain to the rest of the society that in the times we live in and with the size and structure of Nigeria, aviation has become and will remain a basic and essential infrastructure. With such conception in mind, the role of regulators in the sector will be radically modified,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the event and Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, Mr. Bankole Bernard in his speech, warned that the continuous rise of dollar against naira would spell doom for the industry.
He said that the situation was scary for all business entities in the country and appealed to the Federal Government to force a change.
Bernard further advised the Federal Government to emulate other advanced countries where airports are opened for operations for 24 hours daily, but said some factors determine this.
He listed some of the factors to include routes, cost of operations, navigational equipment and others.
Bernard pointed out that this would promote tourism and business growth across the country.