By VICTOR NZE
Former Managing Director of the defunct Virgin Nigeria Airways, Capt. Dapo Olumide, has called for more investment in airport infrastructure in order to accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s aviation industry.
Olumide, who made the call while speaking with aviation correspondents in Lagos on Thursday, noted that infrastructural deficit had remained a major challenge to airline operations in the country.
“We must invest in infrastructure. Without infrastructure you can’t go anywhere. The challenge we have here is that in order to accelerate the growth of our aviation sector; we must improve our infrastructure,” he said.
Olumide, who is presently Chief Executive Officer of Ropeways Transport Limited, also reiterated the need for government to provide a conducive environment for investors to come into the sector, adding that for instance, the landing aids at the airports in the country would only allow an aircraft to land in visibility of 800 metres.
“Anything less than that, the airplane can’t land. That is a loss of revenue for the airline and for the airport. So we need to install the infrastructure that will allow aircraft to land with reduced visibility.
“We have it all over the world. It is just equipment on the ground, equipment on the aircraft and specialised training for the pilots. So, without infrastructure you can’t bring in more modern aircraft to compete with the western airlines because there are no places to park them.”
He said that in order to attract investments to the sector, the government should give assurances to the investors about being able to recoup and remit their funds.
“It is more about issues like how do you remit your funds. If you are investing in dollars how you do get your dollars back because it is one thing for the government to say you can get it at the official rate but can you go to the bank and get it just like that?
“So we need to increase the confidence of investors,” Olumide said.
Federal Government had begun moves to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports in order to improve flights and passengers facilitation.
ICAO lists challenges facing contemporary civil aviation
President, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr Benard Aliu, says growth in aviation sector like the emergence of remotely-piloted aircraft technologies (drones) were part of the challenges facing contemporary civil aviation administration.
Aliu disclosed this at the 27th Airports Council International (ACI) AFRICA/WORLD Conference in Port Louis, Mauritius, with the theme of ‘bold leadership in a time of change’,
A statement by ICAO made available in Abuja, Wednesday quoted Aliu as saying, “while our continued sectoral growth is a desirable outcome, it is also our greatest challenge”.
He said that there was rapid evolution currently underway in the field of commercial space flights, such as unmanned aerial vehicle technologies, which signaled the dawn of a new era in aviation.
Aliu said the projected doubling of flight and passenger volumes by the early 2030s posed significant risks to air transport safety performance, network capacity and efficiency, security preparedness, and emissions mitigation targets.
“Sustained negative performance impacts would not only be unacceptable, they would also pose significant risks to the basic value offerings of air services.
“Furthermore they would threaten air transport’s role as a significant engine for sustainable socio-economic development in small countries, which depend significantly on air transport for their tourism industry and global connectivity more generally.
“One of the most important prerequisites for future air transport sustainability depends on the quality and extent of the infrastructure and human resources development commitments which governments make today,” he said.
Aliu disclosed that ICAO had set out detailed planning and targets which have been endorsed by its Member States in the its Global Plans for aviation safety and air navigation.
He added that aviation security responses and coordination would be benefitting from a similar global plan for aviation security that was expected to be endorsed by the ICAO Council in November.
“This affords us a uniquely comprehensive perspective from which to identify key challenges for air transport, as well as to coordinate global responses to them.”
“I would further like to reaffirm our commitment to continue to assist our Member States in optimizing the incredible benefits of aviation under our No Country Left Behind initiative,’’ he said.