An International Civil Aviation Expert and Former Secretary General,African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, Ms. Iyabo Sosina says to reposition the Nigerian Aviation Industry, there must be a stronger Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, to ensure the provision of regulatory oversight without undue political interference.
She also stated that the country needs only two to four airlines to play on the domestic, regional and international market.
Speaking at the 3rd webinar series by Aelex Partners with the Theme: Ms. Sosina noted that CAA must carry out total safety, security, economy audit of the industry to identify gaps and put in place appropriate strategies to address the identify gaps.
She emphasized the need to carry out a bench making exercise of the
industry in order to learn from the steps that had been taken by developed countries in the restart and recovery paths for their industries.
“The first opportunity for me is the fact that Aviation industries in
most nation of the world have also been impacted and they are also in
the process of rebuilding their industries and this is taking place
everywhere, so Nigeria is not particularly worse off and so we can
take advantage of this particular situation.”
“We have the opportunity to start on a clean slate and try and get it right this time because we haven’t always gotten it right especially the airlines. So there is need to us to reposition the Aviation industry.”
Sosina however expressed optimism that the industry would weather the
challenges it is currently grappling with stressing that the future of air transport industry in Nigeria was bright.
The former AFCAC Secretary General opined that there was the need for
the country to go back to the drawing board and see how they could possibly reduce the number of airlines.
In her opinion, she said, it does make sense to have two to four Airlines that are stronger and must be competitive on the domestic, regional and global market.
Sosina stressed a paradigm shift in the way airlines do business and
the need for airlines to change their business models, adding that business cannot be the same as usual especially with the provision of some stimulus packages to ensure that the Industry survives just as has been done by governments in all parts of the world.
“However, a question is; can the government trust the airlines to keep
their own side of the bargain in such a transaction? Afterall, going by the antecedent government has no reason to believe that the airlines deliver.”
She added,”Therefore, the airlines must change the way they do business and this unfortunate situation we find ourselves in is a perfect motivation needed to engender the needed change. This period is a good opportunity for the airlines to reevaluate their debts,their operations and change their business models to include transparency, accountability, cooperation and collaboration with emphasis on these four attributes, all successful businesses all the world over.”
According to her, in providing any stimulus packages, government must
take into consideration airlines intentions towards these goals and
ensure they are upheld in the process of the Oversight within the
utilization of the stimulus package.
“Gone at the days when airlines operate with impunity and believe that owing their providers for services as well as owing their staff
salaries is a business model, no business can never survive on such a
flawed belief as this certainty is not a model used anywhere else in the world.
“The government doesn’t owe them because they are private entities and
this must be taken into consideration in preparing the new business plans. Airlines must also create a nice market for their Operations and refocus their mission and objectives.”
The market in Nigeria as its stands cannot support more than two to four Airlines, very, very strong airlines and these airlines must boost of a minimum of 10-20 aircraft.
The days of one two commercial Operation aircraft should be long gone, it is simply not viable, as mergers cannot be forced right by
government, it is incumbent on the airlines to initiate and explore
collaborative ways of doing business that would ensure healthy cooperation and competition.
On the airport side, the AFCAC former SG, said airports should be made
run as business ventures, turned around into healthy, money making
entities preparatory to concessioning to free government from running
“Government through the airports must offer other concessions as it is
done in other parts of the world, for instance, there should be drastically reduced charges for operating into unviable airports and such airports must be designated as social service airports which would command no charges at all.”