…says some policies obstructing developments
Posted by Sade Williams
Former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, has lamented the spate at which government grants foreign airlines more air entries and frequencies into the Nigerian airspace and airports, saying it has failed to consider the economic implications of such on the domestic scene of the sector and the country as a whole.
He spoke at the 23rd annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents with the theme: Boosting aviation investments through policy.
Represented by Dr. Gbenga Olowo, President of Sabre networks and Aviation Round Table, he said government has passed in safety regulations but has refused to initiate policies that will grow the sector, especially as it affects domestic operators.
Demuren, who itemised high cost of fuel, (the highest in the world), low aircraft utilisation due to the fact that many airports shut down at 6 pm, aging fleet (because airlines buy what they can afford and not what is available, lack of links between airports, under-utilised Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), fluctuations and weakness of the Naira, corruptive authorities and above all multiple entry points for foreign carriers, lamented that the weaknesses and problems have overshadowed the opportunities in the sector, noting that there must be deliberate efforts to reposition things.
“Multiple entry points into Nigeria by foreign airlines is disastrous and it is a deliberate annihilation of the domestic market, we talk of negative balance of trade, economic regulations has failed in all ramifications, we have passed in safety but we have failed in economic regulations, before you open your eyes, the domestic market would have been wiped out due to struggles to compete with foreign airlines “, he said.
Demuren, who noted that Nigeria does need another country or people to help it establish a national carrier, said the country is endowed with brilliant people and all it takes to have a national Carrier.
“Why should we fail to learn from experience, we do not need anybody to help us float an airline, we have a large population of 200 million people, our location is a big plus, adequate for us to connect most cities, we are highly endowed, we have a long history of aviation and human resources with experience, our government was solid in those days, Nigeria Airways was solid, Air Afrique and others were coming behind us but today we are struggling to have a national carrier due to some bad policies “, he added.
He however itemised four performance policy thrust to include: Operational excellence, adding that government must ensure effective
infrastructure management and development; improved air connectivity; efficient Human capacity and capabilities, improve internal business processes by all sectors to fit global standards and ensure proper Air traffic management. He also spoke about Stakeholders’ satisfaction whereby government ensures premium stakeholders experience at
all times apart from ensuring prompt and efficient implementation of all Memorandum of understanding rather than disregard them.
“Nigeria’s huge infrastructure deficit is an opportunity to partner on a win-win basis with the private sector in virtually all economic and social infrastructure spaces. Policy must guarantee investment and its security, regardless the government of the day.
“For all sectors of the industry, clearly defined and articulated objectives and Key Performance Indexes as proposed must be ensured and monitored in order to deliver the set targets on goals and aspirations”, he added.