Experts in the aviation industry have called on the Federal Government to enact a law that will make it mandatory for domestic airlines to have minimum of 20 aircraft before obtaining Air Operators’ Certificates.
The development, they said, would strengthen the airlines’ operations and also help them to attract funding aid from outside the country.
The experts made the suggestion in a communique issued at the end of the Aviation Roundtable and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Friday.
The communique read in part, “We urgently call for regulatory consolidation process that increases the minimum fleet for AOC issuance for scheduled passenger airline operations from two aircraft to 20 aircraft.
“For Nigerian airlines to attract funding facilities from financiers and institutions that are predominantly based outside Nigeria, our airlines must be within these parameters: viability, capacity and the potential to earn more revenue from commercial agreements in view of the weakness of the local currency.”
They also noted that there was a need for local airlines to pull resources together and establish a local maintenance hangar as a way of minimising their aircraft maintenance costs, and also work with the government to address the problem of human capital development in the industry.
“Human capital deficiency in the industry needs to be rapidly addressed by establishing human capital development plans, succession planning and mentoring programme across the industry and organisations, with huge investments. We should deepen training in commercial, marketing and financial analysis, which are the bedrock of profitability in the industry,” the group stated.
According to the group, there should be a culture of corporate governance and transparency in the business of managing the aviation sector, such that government and other parties in infrastructure-related commercial agreements in the industry should respect the terms of such agreements if the industry is to move forward.
It called for immediate resolution of existing concession agreements that had been enveloped in controversies affecting the entire industry by taking cognisance of the initial capital invested.
“Also, political interference should be avoided in the industry’s regulatory activities. There is a need for the establishment of an inter-governmental agency stakeholders’ group led by the regulator for the administration and management of aviation development plans. Additionally, there should be an aviation projects implementation stakeholders’ team in every airport,” the group noted.
The experts also called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to Bilateral Air Service Agreements, Multilateral Air Service Agreements and international routes as well as air traffic rights to help domestic airlines grow.
“BASA funds should be used for critical safety infrastructure development as provided for in the Civil Aviation Act, 2006,” the group added.