“Boosting Aviation Investment Through Policy” was the theme of the 23rd edition of the Annual Conference of League of Airports & Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) and constituted the focus of discussions by investors and stakeholders at the event held yesterday at Radisson Blu Hotel, Lagos.
Speaker after speaker, participants reviewed the existing aviation policies and their impact on investment in the country.
Welcoming participants to the event, the Chairman of LAAC, Mr. Olusegun Koiki said “it is obvious that to fix Nigeria’s aviation sector, there is an urgent need for policy measures that can address anti-investment situations, while attracting both local and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).”
“It is unfortunate that politicization, over-bearing governmental intervention and policy inconsistency from late 80s happens to be bedrock of the beginning of the nose-diving in the contribution of Aviation Industry to the economic development. The last straw that broke the Camels’ back was the liquidation of the National Carrier (Nigeria Airways) in 2004” said Alhaji Muneer Bankole, Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director, Medview Airlines.
“Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Minister for Aviation and other relevant regulatory agencies need to reflect on the National Aviation Policy in conjunction with various aviation stakeholders holistically” he said, adding that “in Nigeria, the expansion of air services is a necessary condition for development and diversification of the nation’s economy away from oil, to a more diversified export based natural resources, including tourism that can be boosted under more nationalistic and patriotic policy regulation, hence LAAC Conference of this year is timely and constructive,” stressed Bankole.
Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema in his presentation, frowned at government’s designation of local airlines for international flights without following up implementation and without using policy to tackle the exploitative activities of authorities in destination countries.
“Today, we do not have a policy of aviation in Nigeria. When regulations are inconsistent with the overall objectives of the industry, we have a major problem. Most policies today are borne out of knee-jack reactions. Government needs to encourage private investors with consistent and deliberate policies to grow the industry” said Capt. Roland Iyayi, Chief Executive Officer, TopBrass Aviation.
The Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Mr. Obi Mbanuzo made a case for policy consistency and certainty of the climate for investment.
“We prefer to have certainty that existing policies will not change suddenly. Change of persons in authority should not automatically mean change of policy” he said.
“Nigerian government must urgently review its Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs)” said Mr. Nick Fadugba, President, African Business Aviation Association.
The President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Barrister Illitrus Anadu said although the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has over the years, been under pressure to force mergers among Nigerian airlines, such measure contradicts the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
The LAAC 2019 Annual Conference ended with presentation of Awards of Excellence to Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) as The Most Efficient Accident Investigation Agency in West & Central Africa; Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO Plc) as The Most Innovative Ground Handling Firm in Nigeria and Mr. Kingsley Ezenwa as The Best Image Maker In Nigeria’s Aviation Industry.