Nigeria seeks N1.5trn to bridge airport infrastructure gap

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Aug 07 (THEWILL) – The federal government needs more than 1.5 trillion naira (about $5 billion) to fill the airport infrastructure gap in the country. The above sum is contained in recent statistics provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Over the years, inadequate finance and lack of infrastructure has been identified as one of the major challenges facing night operations at Nigerian airports.

Corroborating the AfDB data, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, said any airport that decides to expand its operations beyond dusk requires a financial situation. material and compliance with other material conditions.

Speaking at the 26th Annual Conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) recently held in Lagos on the theme: “Sunset Airports: Economic and Safety Implications”, said Nuhu that any airport, which decides to extend its operations beyond dusk, needs significant financial and compliance with other important conditions.

According to him, some of the conditions included an adequate number of competent staff, adequate power supply and the availability of ancillary service providers, among others.

Nuhu, who was represented on the occasion by Mr. Tayib Odunowo, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS) of the NCAA, also mentioned insufficient infrastructure as the other major challenge facing such a project in Nigeria.

“There are issues regarding fire blanket, primary and secondary power sources, the provision of communication, navigation and surveillance aids, automatic weather stations and casting equipment, among others,” he said.

Due to poor infrastructure, Nigerian airlines are said to have lost at least N4.3 billion a year due to their restriction to operate 24 hour flights a day to airports of their choice. It has been estimated that carriers in the country lose an average of 4 million naira per flight, 12 million naira on each flight, 360 million naira on 90 flights and 4.3 billion naira per year on each flight lost due to airport operations.

According to COO of Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi, this restriction has led to huge underutilization of aircraft fleets by Nigerian airlines by global industry standards.

He added: “Part of this is due to too many obstacles in the operating environment that limit airline productivity. These include limited availability of tracks on the national network, multiple gaps in operational infrastructure, poor organization and many more.

In order to meet the challenge, Uriesi called on the government to prioritize airfield infrastructure and provide the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS) and accompanying accessories for each airport, while keeping airfields open. to meet the needs of airlines and other users. Furthermore, he advised the government to make current and approved master plans a regulatory requirement for every airport and prohibit non-compliance with master plans by any organization.

“The establishment of a local aircraft lessor/finance vehicle that would allow domiciliation of aircraft payments in local currency would make a huge difference to the airline industry in Nigeria,” he added.

Also speaking, the director of the Center for Advanced and Professional International Studies (CIAPS), Professor Anthony Kila, urged the NCAA to encourage airlines to succeed without relegating safety.

He said the aviation industry was in the throes of a myriad of crises, pointing out that the high cost of flights and the closure of airlines in a country meant a bad omen for the country.

Kila called for a total rehabilitation of the aviation industry by all players in the sector. He also called for the creation of the Bank of Aviation, which would facilitate airlines’ access to foreign currency.

“We must act quickly and decisively to deal with this situation so that it does not turn into an unmanageable disaster. Decisive actions in this case will require a total overhaul and reset of the way we design and manage our aeronautical manners.

“There is a prevailing idea among the general public and among too many opinion leaders, opinion makers and even policy makers that aviation is a sector serving the elite or the privileged, it seems This however is an anachronistic misconception that needs to be deliberately and resolutely corrected.

“Those who know and may need to find the clarity of mind and courage of voice to explain to the rest of society that in the times we live in and with the size and structure of Nigeria, aviation has become and will remain a fundamental and essential infrastructure.With such a design in mind, the role of regulators in the sector will be radically altered.

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