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Mandate domestic airlines to begin operations from 20 aircrafts—Experts

To limit the recurring cases of bankruptcy and loan defaults, leading stakeholders in the nation’s aviation industry have called on the Federal Government to enact a law that will make it mandatory for domestic airlines to have minimum of 20 aircraft before obtaining Air Operators’ Certificates (AOCs).

Apart from stamping their readiness to remain strong in the market, the mandate will place airlines on a vantage position to attract funding aid from outside the country.

A communiqué issued at the end of the Aviation Roundtable and made available to Business Hilights weekend, it said “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 aircraft.

“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 potential to earn more revenue from commercial agreements in view of the weakness of the local currency.”

“Human capital deficiency in the industry needs to be rapidly addressed by establishing human capital development plans, succession planning and mentoring programme across the industry and organisations, with huge investments. We should deepen training in commercial, marketing and financial analysis, which are the bedrock of profitability in the industry,” the group stated.

“There should be a culture of corporate governance and transparency in the business of managing the aviation sector, such that government and other parties in infrastructure-related commercial agreements in the industry should respect the terms of such agreements if the industry is to move forward.

“Also, political interference should be avoided in the industry’s regulatory activities. There is a need for the establishment of an inter-governmental agency stakeholders’ group led by the regulator for the administration and management of aviation development plans. Additionally, there should be an aviation projects implementation stakeholders’ team in every airport,” the group noted.

“The Federal Government need to pay more attention to Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA), Multilateral Air Service Agreements and international routes as well as air traffic rights to help domestic airlines grow.

“BASA funds should be used for critical safety infrastructure development as provided for in the Civil Aviation Act, 2006,” the Aviation Roundtable noted.