Kwara laments aviation sector woes, lauds operators’ resilience

The Kwara State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Afeez Alabi said the numerous challenges faced by the aviation industry in the country have affected many other sectors of the economy, adding that the aviation sector should have ordinarily been a poster to be showcased or measure the economic wellbeing of the nation.

Alabi made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the training for aviation journalists taking place at the International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin, Kwara State where he gave the keynote address at the event.

He reiterated that the challenges had made it very herculean for airline operators and other service providers to survive, applauding operators and others that are still struggling to operate.

He said,” part of what you see today is part of the fact that our government is responsive. The industry is industry that is capital-intensive. I know that it is an industry that requires a lot of capital to be invested. The sector should ordinarily be a poster for the economic development of Nigeria

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“What you find in Nigeria and I’m sorry to say is not impressive in what we are experiencing in the sector. It is a sector that ordinarily should boost the economy of this nation no doubt, but we are not doing very much, it doesn’t mean we are all not doing anything.”

“Generally, issues of policy thrust not being followed, the issues of bottlenecks, even on the part of operators they equally have to share the blame. Suffice it to say that every one of us has one or two lashes for what it happening today in the industry and at the same time we do have to form a synergy that would take the sector to the level you or I would be proud of.”

Not much support is given to the aviation industry, despite its slow returns on investment. The International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s study some years ago revealed that the global aviation sector recorded 0.1 percent profit in 40 years.

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This is a true reflection of the workings of the industry. The government’s sacred responsibility to create a palatable environment for industries to thrive cannot be overstated.

Commercial aviation is a critical industry in any country because of the capital and resources generated or lost by it.
The implicit and explicit costs can go each way, only in this case, Nigeria has been at the receiving end of all the losses.

The Director General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Shuaibu Musa Nuhu had charged the journalists to use their watchdog function to play a very important role in fostering stability in the industry.

Nuhu who was represented by Wakali Adamu said, ”There is no doubt that there is increased confidence in the sector as new airlines are coming on board and existing operators are expanding their routes. Expectedly, our cost of the surveillance programme and other oversight responsibilities as the regulator of the industry have increased correspondently.”

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Leader of the group of journalists attending the media, Mr. Sgun Koiki called on the state government not to treat the college as an appendage of the civil service as the school needs to be more competitive.

From left, Chairman, League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents, Mr. Segun Koiko, Rector, International Aviation College, Ilorin, Captain Yakubu Okadahi and the representative of D/G NCAA, Wakili Adamu at the opening ceremony of 2022 Annual Aviation Training in Ilorin, Kwara State

He said the government needs to give the school attention so it can thrive.

He said, “The management needs to tighten its seatbelt and be more competitive. The college may have been funded by the State Government, but as a specialised aviation training institution, it should not be treated as an appendage of the Kwara State Civil Service.”

Wole Shadare