Posted by Sade Williams
THEME: ‘NIGERIA’S AVIATION INDUSTRY: CHANGING TIMES, CHANGING STRATEGIES.’
THE PANELISTS WERE: 1. Engr. Akin Olateru, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB)
2. Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)
3. Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)
4. Mrs. Olatokunbo Fagbemi, Group Managing Director, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO)
5. Bar. Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace
6. Dr. Gabriel Olowo, President, Aviation Round Table (ART)
The panelists and other discussants registered their concerns on the unfortunate challenges brought about by the advent of Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of the over two hours discussion, panelists and participants submitted that:
– FAAN and NCAA should ensure total safety of passengers and airport users once the industry is re-opened
– Air travellers were encouraged embrace technology by procuring their tickets online to reduce human contacts at airports.
– NCAA and FAAN were advised to ensure appropriate spacing at airports for passengers and other users, especially during peak period.
– Security check-ins are still very cumbersome at the airports. FAAN management was told to device a mean of reducing contacts between its personnel and air travellers in order to minimsie the risk of contacting Covid-19 virus at the airport
– All the different check points – for passport, narcotics, currency and others should be harmonised and collapsed into three at an airport
– Airlines should also show their level of readiness towards resumption of flight services
– Government agencies and airlines were advised to test run their facilities before the airports are reopened.
– Stakeholders especially government agencies, ground handlers and airlines should think out of the box, rejig and adjust with the current situation so as to remain relevant
– There is need for every business to review its processes and operations
– Organisations should invest in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in order to reduce passenger facilitation and boarding. Annex 9 of the ICAO standard and recommended practices recommends only 30 minutes.
– The agencies; FAAN, NCAA, NAMA, NCAT and others should start to think of how they can support businesses so that they can become stabilised post Covid-19 era
– Bailout for organizations in the industry i.e. airlines, agencies, ground handlers, catering is required to kick-start businesses in the sector
– Organisations in the sector should synergise to fight the pandemic in our country
– The Nigeria aviation industry needs flexible slot system in order to accommodate the interest of every stakeholder.
– Airlines and other stakeholders should manage uncertainties in order to stay resilient and reduce job losses
– Indigenous airlines should take advantage of domestic cargo in order to recoup losses
– There should be deliberate efforts aimed at increasing the nation’s exports by air especially in agriculture, not just in oil and gas
– There is need to reduce the number of staff on duty in order to reduce possibility of personnel contracting Covid-19 at work
– Airlines should embrace codeshare, ticket transfer, interlining, local BSP
– Federal Government should provide single digit loans and Forex for our airlines to cushion operational cost
-Palliatives or bailout for airlines and other organisations should be to support staff salaries, whose means of livelihood is presently at risk
– Civil servants in the system should encourage business growth and consider investors as partners in progress
– Plan to leave the middle seats empty will not encourage business growth, will encourage rise in the price of air tickets and reduce potential air travellers
– FAAN should extend airport operational hours for airlines to take advantage of it and maximise their earnings
– Nigeria aviation industry should be made attractive to investors. There is need to insitutionalise corporate governance, transparency, policy consistency and adherence to the rule of law
– FAAN should install toilet facilities that are sensors compliant to reduce touching of taps by users