President Muhammadu Buhari
Airport concession inconclusive, MRO establishment untouched
•Weak institutions threaten aviation sector devt- Utomi
By Prince Okafor
Ahead of the 2023 election, aviation experts have insisted that the sector’s future appears gloomy following the current administration’s inability to implement about 94 per cent of recommendations in eight years.
The recommendation according to the experts stood as an appraisal to assess the activities of the current administration in the aviation sector.
The experts’ verdict showed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration could only implement six per cent of recommendations, with 42 per cent of work still in progress while 52 per cent of work remained untouched.
Vanguard gathered that a group of aviation professionals under the aegis of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRT) disclosed that the sector performed below average in the last eight years.
ASRT is an apolitical aviation-based non-governmental organisation established to advocate air safety and security in all areas of the aviation industry.
While analysing the government’s key performance indices at the first quarter Breakfast Business Meeting (BBM) in Lagos, titled, “Aviation in Nigeria Beyond 2023 General Elections: Challenges and Prospects”, the President, ASRT, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, stated that the future of the Nigerian aviation industry largely depends on how we deal with the numerous challenges currently impeding its development.
He noted that with the 2023 general elections in view, it is quite incumbent to prepare for the future of aviation in Nigeria.
For instance, the National carrier which the administration pledged to launch as part of their campaign promise is yet to be established. National Maintenance and Repair Organisation (MRO), to mitigate capital flight has not been set up.
Also, the concession on the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN airports was inconclusive, amongst others.
But the administration was able to establish the Civil Aviation Acts and the transformation of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) into now intermodal transport agency the Nigeria Safety Investigative Bureau (NSIB).
Speaking on the development, Olowo said: “We are grateful to the professionals in the Civil Aviation Act (CAA) and the NTIB for their dutiful role in ensuring aviation safety.
“Other pending issues in the Nigerian aviation industry, include the failure to establish some aviation agency boards as stated in the CAA violates Section 29:1 of the Civil Aviation Act, as contained in Section 11:1 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
“Questions calling for answers amidst the avoidable negligence include: who takes responsibility for the financial losses airlines and service providers incurred during the recent strike that disrupted business activities at the airport?
“Poor communication and crisis management exacerbated the strike’s collateral damages. A domestic carrier reportedly lost N500 million due to MM2’s abrupt shutdown.
“The ART strongly condemns the strike and management’s inadequate response. With apologies, adequate compensation should be provided to all parties affected. Regrettably, if “the plan of change is not higher than the pain of remaining the same, people don’t change.”
“The New Airport Terminal Building in Lagos commissioned by the President last year was said to have had an aircraft apron for parking, ditto one in Abuja obstructing the control tower.
“The light rail line in ABV does not connect to the airport terminal building either. Were there no plans before these projects were executed? One can only hope the newly commissioned blue and red Line rails in Lagos would share links with the airport terminal buildings.”
While evaluating the aviation industry since the first quarter of 2022, Olowo stated that the future of the Nigerian aviation industry largely depends on how the sector deals with the numerous challenges currently impeding its development, adding that with the 2023 general elections in view, it was quite incumbent to prepare for the future of aviation in Nigeria.
Weak institutions threaten aviation sector devt — Utomi
Meanwhile, a renowned professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, has insisted that without the aviation business, places like Dubai, and Singapore won’t be known.
While speaking at the breakfast meeting, he noted that Nigerian Airways was far superior to some of these airlines flying on the international route, but due to weak institutions, amongst others, the airline collapsed.
He said: “If airline business was treated the way it should, Tinapa in Calabar will not be where it is today.
“There is no reason why Nigerian airports should not be properly managed to provide common services that meet up to international standards which are obtained in other African countries that lack the resources compared to Nigeria.
“If we get into government, we would fire any airport manager if in six months the airport he manages does meet standards seen in other parts of the world.
“What is so difficult about having a toilet that is clean that people can use at our airports? Our politics should be about detailing how things happen and how people should be held accountable if it does not happen. We travel all over the world and come back to see something different.”
Utomi who is also a Labour party stalwart stated that the party plans to expand many cities in Nigeria and link such cities using intermodal transport systems.
“There have to be rail systems and small propeller aircraft and airports linking these hubs. The aviation industry has to be positioned to drive these developments. The biggest challenge to development in Nigeria is weak institutions.
”This is no longer the moment for politics of transactions. It is time to redeem the nation. When people know there are consequences for their actions, then they will begin to do the right things,” he added.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.