The Chief Executive Officer of Al-Abrar Air travels and Tours, Sheikh Abdulrasaq Ishola has thrown his weight behind the demands for 20 fleet of aircraft as the minimum number for any airline operator in Nigeria.
He stated his position during a telephone interview with Pilot Aviation on Saturday.
The CEO stressed that most of the local airline operators in Nigeria do not have enough airplanes, which according to him has hindered their incursion into international routes.
“Air Peace airline has the highest number aircraft in the country with 11. Others such as Arik Air, Overland Airways, Dana Air, Aero Contractors, Max Air, Azman among others have between one to seven aircraft.
“This shortage results to flights delays and cancellation of their schedules once they are booked or chartered to serve important purposes,” he noted.
Ishola said that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) saddled with the responsibility of issuing licences to airline operators should increase the minimum level of aircraft to twenty as suggested for the growth of the country’s aviation industry.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) canvassed a minimum of 20 aircraft in the fleet of each local airline operating in the country to boost capacity, competitiveness and attract investors.
ASRTI is a think-tank group argued contrary to the current minimum of two-aircraft requirement for Air Operating Certificate (AOC), an upward review would force merger of the struggling airlines to emerge stronger for competition on the regional and international fronts.
ASRTI, in a statement issued at the end of the aviation conference 2017 in Lagos, recommended that operating local airlines should either merge or partner and pull resources together to establish a local maintenance hangar as a way of minimizing their aircraft maintenance cost.
“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 potentials to earn more revenue from commercial agreements in view of the weakness of the local currency.
“Therefore, 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,” the statement read in part.
President of the think-tank group, Gbenga Olowo, said it was in the interest of all to have two strong local carriers of 20-aircraft fleet each than eight struggling airlines with 47 functional aircraft in total.
Also recommended by the group is the culture of corporate governance and transparency in the business of managing the aviation sector. They said government and other parties in infrastructure-related commercial agreements in the industry should respect the terms of such pacts if the industry is to move forward.
According to the experts, existing concession/agreements that have developed into controversies affecting the entire industry should be resolved immediately in the interest of the industry. taking cognizance of initial capital invested. Also, political interference should be avoided in the sector’s regulatory activities.
Also, there is a need to have surveillance cameras in and around every airport in Nigeria to be complimented with the establishment of Aviation Industry Cybersecurity Emergency Response Team (CERT) to enhance aviation security.