LAAC Seeks improves performance of airports, airlines and other players in aviation space

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Olusegun Koiki, Chairman, League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents during opening remark At The LAAC 26th Annual Conference said as stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation industry, the improved performance of airports, airlines and other players is our major priority. According to him, it is in pursuit of this collective objective that LAAC has selected proven professionals in the sector to dissect the issues and articulate the way forward.

 

Koiki further stated that the Nigerian aviation industry needs to be at par with its counterparts elsewhere. As we all know, there is no local aviation industry, he added.

 

The League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) event titled The League with The Theme: ‘Sunset Airports: Economic & Safety Implications,’ Held at Ikeja, Lagos.

 

LAAC Chairman recalled that on July 28, 2021, exactly one year ago today, most of us were gathered in this same hall to articulate and exchange ideas on how Nigeria aviation industry’s Management, Policy and Regulation could be tweaked in favour of our dear country at the League’s 25th annual conference. At the end of the conference, a communique was reached by all participants and sent to the appropriate quarters for action, which we are glad to say here that some of the issues raised have been attended to by the concerned bodies, he said.

Besides, Koiki added that you will agree with me that in recent months, the various players in the Nigeria’s aviation industry, especially airlines, airport operators, oil marketers, ground handlers, catering services and all safety stakeholders have had to contend with a mirage of challenges, which have all combined to build a huge obstruction of the desired and projected revenue bottom-line for all stakeholders.

 

To be specific, he pointed out that Nigeria’s entire economy has, within the last one year, been evidently been negatively impacted by the challenges of the aviation sector related to airport operations.

 

“Aviation as a vital segment of Nigeria’s economy does not operate in isolation. Our activities as players significantly affect individual lives and allied businesses outside the industry. Therefore, it is important that in the execution of our airport activities and plans, we incorporate considerations for air travellers’ interests and the interest of other airport users. Both government and private business concerns should in policy formulation, also be concerned about the economic interest of airlines, handlers and other service providers.

 

“A situation whereby a litre of Jet A1 goes as high as N800 is ridiculous. A situation where a dollar is now over N600 in the alternate market because that is the only avenue where business organisations now run to, to get the currency for operations is indefensible. Though our government attributes these challenges to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, but, the League reiterates that our investors are vulnerable in their operations and cannot compete with the current situation.

 

Koiki reminded the participants that we are gathered here today because the appropriateness or otherwise of the operation of some airports only at sunset has been a source of controversy among players and this significantly portends implications in terms of economics and safety for all. Besides, he stressed the operation of sunset airports in Nigeria over the years has obviously influenced the performance of airline operators in particular, the ground handling companies and the entire aviation industry in general.

 

But, LAAC Chairman cited that if air travellers had the option of a flight that departs at 12a.m, how many of them would actually take it? Some might, because it works with their schedule, or because it was cheap. But in this day and age where airlines want to fill every single seat as often as possible and insecurity has taken the centre stage in recent years, chances are good that a 12a.m plane would fly almost empty.

Nevertheless, he observed that although the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has made it clear that Nigeria’s airports are not viable for 24hour operations, aviation stakeholders have expressed displeasure over what they perceive as underutilisation of aerodrome facilities nationwide, despite huge potential that abounds in the air transport sector. There are about 18 airports across Nigeria that operate only during the day out of 22 aerodromes across the country. Only four international airports currently operate a 24-hour schedule.

In his words: “What effect does the restriction of airports operation to daytime only have on scheduled passenger aircraft staying on the ground for most parts of the day? Mind you, aircraft are manufactured to be in the air on the average of 18 hours daily. Do Nigeria’s airports have enough passenger traffic to attract operations beyond daylight flights? Who bears the cost for maintenance of airports that harbour economically ridiculous passenger traffic? What is the acceptable standard of practice in more advanced climes? These and many other questions are expected to be answered during today’s deliberations.

 

As usual, Koiki revealed that a generally acceptable communiqué would be reached by all participants and sent to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.

 

The 26th annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) 2022 with the theme: ‘Sunset Airports: Economic & Safety Implications.’


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