Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director-General (D-G), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has called for the creation of a more friendly environment for airlines to thrive towards ensuring a sustainable air transport industry.
This is contained in a statement issued by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, which was made available to newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
The statement said that Usman made the call while speaking at the Airport Business Summit in Abuja over the weekend.
It said that Usman identified undue political interference and inconsistency of policies as some of the major challenges facing the country’s aviation industry.
“This has led to reduced autonomy for the regulator and key organisations and their inability to a large extent, to determine and control their manpower programmes.
“Inconsistency in policies and policy enforcement has further eroded investors’ confidence in the industry and this inconsistency stems from the influence of different political interests that hold sway at different times,” the statement said.
The statement said the NCAA boss asserted that revenue accruing to airlines globally in the past two and a half decades had dropped substantially.
It quoted him as saying the decline was due to discontinued state funding, sustained de-regulation/liberalisation, privatisation and intense competition.
According to the statement, Usman said human and cargo traffic at many airports have also dwindled with declining purchasing power of passengers and shippers.
“On the other hand, the cost of providing standard air transport services has continued to rise with the continuous innovations in the facilities and increasing demand for customer satisfaction.
” As a result, most airlines presently are faced with high and rising cost of operation,” the statement said.
It said Usman noted that in Nigeria, for instance, aviation fuel constituted between 40 per cent and o 50 per cent of the airlines’ direct operating costs.
The D-G in the statement stressed that these factors were largely responsible for the collapse of some of the smaller airlines while other major airlines had recorded losses or sharp falls in profit