Capt. Alkali Modibbo, the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), has stated that for the Nigerian aviation industry to overcome its current challenges and compete favourably in the future, a well-orchestrated recovery plan is needed.
At a conference organized by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with the theme: Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Management, Policy and Regulation, Modibbo said that for the industry to succeed, it needed the cooperation of all.
In his opinion, the sector at this stage needs direct and continued financial support, provision of credits, discounts and deferrals on charges, and most of all concessions.
Amidst dwindling passenger numbers caused by the pandemic, he lamented that the airline sub-sector was facing “throat-cutting” competition especially from low-cost airlines, emphasizing that airlines on the continent were hit the hardest.
As for Nigeria, he noted that the airline industry continues to face unpredictable costs due to the devaluation of naira against international currencies and the lack of availability of aviation fuel, adding to the operational costs and the technical difficulties airlines face.
He added: “As a result, operational services deteriorated when normal flight services were resumed, followed by frequent scheduled flight challenges and exorbitant ticket prices. Possibly, this is a symptom of the larger financial strain that airlines are experiencing. Here in Nigeria, the airlines are significantly picking up the tempo as the passenger turn out is encouraging.
“Governments and donor institutions should provide the funds to ensure the survival and the business continuity of key stakeholders of the aviation industry as recommended by the African Aviation Industry Group (AAIG) in 2020.”
Madibbo, however, lauded the Federal Government for investing in infrastructure across the various airports, despite the plans to privatise or concession the aerodromes.
The Rector urged the operators to emulate their counterparts across the globe by adopting mergers and aircraft leasing for the purpose of addressing challenges of competitiveness, financial resources and superior standards of sanitation and safety.
At NCAT, he posited that the institution needed to upgrade its curriculum in tune with the current situation of heightened operations, security, sanitation and the digital transformation of the industry.
“We need to look deeply into the changes, which the aviation value chain is undergoing to enable us design the training requirements that will critically produce the workforce a post-pandemic aviation industry will require,” he added.