To enhance aviation safety and promote growth in the industry, there is a pressing need for well-structured funding mechanisms attuned to aviation risks.
This recommendation stems from insights provided by Mr. Fortune Idu, Founder of the Airport Business Summit and Exhibition (ABSE), and Drontecx, drawing on past ABSE reports and drone technology conferences in Nigeria.
Idu highlights the absence of a financing mechanism in Nigeria’s aviation sector, proposing the establishment of a sinking fund and an Aviation Bank or a modal integrated Transport development Bank.
This, he believes, would alleviate the burden of high-interest loan debt on airlines, fostering industry growth.
The suggestion also underscores the importance of focused airport development planning for Lagos and Abuja to emerge as West and Central Africa’s Regional Air Transport hubs.
The ABSE coordinator advocates for a comprehensive approach, involving modal integration, connectivity planning, land replanning, and optimization, emphasizing the need for reliable international consultants such as Munich Airport International.
Addressing issues within the industry, Idu stresses the significance of restructuring aviation planning departments with qualified personnel proficient in research and data-based planning.
He critiques the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)’s organizational structure, proposing its division into three entities: an Airport Development Authority, an Airport Management Company, and the Federal Airports Property Company Ltd.
The envisaged Airport Development Authority would oversee the development of airports, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, while the Airport Management Company would handle operations and management, potentially competing for concessions.
The Federal Airports Property Company Ltd would be responsible for owning and managing all federal airport lands and properties.
Additionally, Idu recommends the formulation of a national policy framework to guide Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (RPAS/UAV) operations. He suggests establishing a dedicated unit in the Ministry for UAS and a directorate in the NCAA to oversee RPAS Drone or Aviation Automation.
In light of the growing interest in airport development across states, Idu urges caution, emphasizing the importance of sustainable financing and initial masterplans for successful long-term operations.