How aviation can overcome its challenges, by NCAT Rector

For the Nigerian aviation industry to overcome its current challenges and compete favourably in the new order, it requires a well-orchestrated recovery plan supported by the government and the external agencies, Capt. Alkali Modibbo, the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) has said.

Speaking at conference organised 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 sector to wriggle out of the current challenges, caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, it needed the cooperation of all.

According to him, the sector at present required direct injection of continued financial support, provision of credits, offer of deferrals and discounts on charges and most especially concessions.

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He lamented that globally, the airline sub-sector was facing a “throat-cutting” competition especially from low-cost airlines amidst dwindling passengers due to the pandemic, stressing that airlines on the continent were worst hit by the crisis.

In Nigeria, he bemoaned that the airline sub-sector continued to face unpredictable cost, due to the devaluation of Naira against the international currencies and irregular availability of aviation fuel, regretting that these among others, added up to the operational cost and technical of airlines.

He added: “As a result, operational services deteriorated when normal flight services were resumed, followed by frequent scheduled flight challenges and exorbitant ticket prices. This could be a symptom of the larger financial strain that airlines currently face. Fortunately here in Nigeria the airlines are tremendously picking up tempo with an encouraging passenger turn out.

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NCAT Rector, Capt. Alkali Modibbo

“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.

He charged the operators to emulate their counterparts across the globe by adopting merger and aircraft leasing to help address the challenges of competitiveness and financial capacities, standardisation of sanitation and safety issues and norms to increase customer confidence.

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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.

Wole Shadare